Weeks later, the Council started a case against us again in a tribunal, for not being members of the PRS. This made no sense, as we are in fact a member of the PRS and had already provided them with the details earlier that year. But the Council claimed that it was not Lifestyle Club Limited that was the member of the PRS, but Lifestyle Club LSC Ltd. For this, they concluded that we were in breach and fined us £5000.
The Council eventually initiated a formal prosecution against Lifestyle Club and myself (Gian Paolo Aliatis). None of my associates who were actual directors or managers of the company were named in the proceedings. Over the course of several months, the Council prosecutors kept adding flimsy evidence to their case. It was clear that they were grasping at straws and would likely lose the case again. Then, to my surprise, the Council accused me of committing fraud for using a daily parking permit for both of my vehicles, claiming that it was criminal activity. It was obvious that they were desperately searching for anything to use against me.
The day of the trial arrived, and unsurprisingly, I was acquitted. There was no real evidence that I broke the law. They had also lost the main piece of evidence, the parking ticket. Despite being innocent, it was frustrating to see the amount of taxpayer money that had been spent on this pursuit of an innocent person.
The Council was unsure of what charges to bring against me in the Lifestyle Club case, constantly adding and changing their charges like changes in the weather. At one point, my solicitors filed a dismissal application, stating that the case was nonsense and should not be tried in criminal courts. However, the day before the hearing, the Council’s prosecution reformulated the charges, making the dismissal application irrelevant.
When the dismissal application hearing took place, the judge agreed that the case was a waste of time and suggested that we settle. As a result, I agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges that would not result in a criminal record. In exchange, the Council agreed to drop the more serious charges, and the case was closed. Although I was fined £6000, as a businessman, I understood the value of my time and did not want to spend the next six months dealing with the Council. It was a win-win situation for everyone involved. The Council recouped their costs, and I could finally move on from this ordeal.
Join me in our next post as I muse about the nature of reputation.