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Homeless man escapes Ribble Valley Christmas CRASBO
7:00pm Wednesday 18th December 2013 in News
THERE will be no Christmas CRASBO against a homeless man who faced a ban from the Ribble Valley.
The Crown Prosecution Service has dropped its application against Gavin Whalley which was due to be heard at Blackburn Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.
But had the application gone ahead, the 41-year-old would have had a top team fighting his case.
Defence solicitor Andrew Church-Taylor has revealed that leading barrister, Anthony Cross QC, who lives in the Ribble Valley, had volunteered to represent Mr Whalley free of charge at the CRASBO hearing.
And he would have been assisted by a leading junior counsel from London who is an expert in the field.
Mr Church-Taylor said: “There was a wealth of support for Gavin from people who live in the Ribble Valley when his story was first published.
“People contacted us offering to pay any fines or costs and one woman volunteered to co-ordinate the collection of evidence to present to the CRASBO application.
“I am very grateful to the press for publishing the original story, sparking the subsequent, lively debate.”
Last month, Whalley pleaded guilty to begging in Clitheroe town centre and was fined.
Prosecutor Catherine Allan said Whalley had previous convictions for begging and said the prosecution would be seeking a CRASBO which would prohibit him from entering the Ribble Valley.
Mr Church-Taylor announced he would be opposing the ban and said: “It would appear the police perception is that people in the Ribble Valley are too posh for tramps.”
He said Whalley came from a good family who still live in the Langho area. He said Whalley could often be seen around Whalley and Clitheroe and, on occasions, he asked for charity.
He said: “He is not aggressive and simply asks for spare change.
“He is a man who depends on charity and is grateful for anything he is given.”
Whalley was previously fined when police in Blackburn launched a crackdown after receiving a stream of complaints about beggars from shopkeepers and town centre managers.
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