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Incident with bridge keeper-Licence suspended


Markblox

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I had an altercation with a bridge keeper recently, one where I received abuse, sent some back and moored up to ask why etc and then was assaulted and defended myself.  It was six of one and half a dozen of the other TBH.  That's all the details that are needed but the accusation in the suspension letter is partly accurate and partly incorrect.  They allege that it was all my fault.

Anyway, I reported this to the CRT within minutes  and heard nothing from them for eleven days until they pinned a letter to the mooring lines and in the letter said they had to investigate.  I sent them an account of what happened at that point and asked them why they hadn't contacted me.  They say I can't move the boat whilst the licence is suspended and was told by phone it would be suspended until next Tuesday the 14/11/23.  In a recent Email they now say the suspension is until 23/11/23.  I am a proper continuous cruiser and live aboard.  I am trapped on the Gloucester and Sharpness so can't even get to EA waterways as an option.  I now no longer want to be on the CRT waters tbh.  

 

It seems they have pre judged the situation because they never contacted me for my side of the story before suspending me.

 

My questions to you:

Can I move the boat to get food, water gas, diesel black tank etc, possibly under the ECHR article 8 because I don't intend to die of thirst, starvation or hypothermia?

In the event of having my licence revoked, what would be the timeline of them getting a court order and what might it cost me?

Would I have the option of leaving the network under my own steam or would it be overland transportation?

I want to avoid EA waterways until the spring.

I intend buying a house and selling the boat in two years time, when I receive my state pension and I can't wait!

Do the CRT exchange info with the EA?

 

 

 

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Obviously we are only getting one side of the story, but as you describe it there are a few issues - one needs a licence to have a boat on the canals, not to move it. So if the boat is still on the canals, whether or not you move it is not relevant to the licence.  CRT are not empowered to tell you you can keep your boat on the canals but you can’t move it, other than when there is a general stoppage affecting everyone. I am pretty sure there is no legal mechanism to suspend your licence, you either have a licence or you don’t.

 

If it were me I would continue to move my boat as I needed to (without telling them about it). What are they going to do, come and shoot you? However I suggest it would be advisable to keep a low profile and try not to get into any more arguments! I suppose you are on the part of the system that requires co-operation with land based people (bridge and lock operators) but whether or no CRT are efficient enough to send out an “arrest warrant” to their bridge and lock keepers to deny you passage, I somewhat doubt. I would aim to get off that part of the system and onto a part of the system where everything is self service (Worcs and Birmingham, etc)

 

I would also make a formal complaint to CRT that CRT are acting outside their powers and being unfair, vindictive and unreasonable. And as soon as possible, take the issue to the waterways ombudsman so that at least there is a public record of events.

Edited by nicknorman
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6 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

If it were me I would continue to move my boat as I needed to (without telling them about it). What are they going to do, come and shoot you? However I suggest it would be advisable to keep a low profile and try not to get into any more arguments! I suppose you are on the part of the system that requires co-operation with land based people (bridge and lock operators) but whether or no CRT are efficient enough to send out an “arrest warrant” to their bridge and lock keepers to deny you passage, I somewhat doubt. I would aim to get off that part of the system and onto a part of the system where everything is self service (Worcs and Birmingham, etc)

.

 

G&S bridges are only open on certain days at this time of year and in some places the same person runs more than one bridge. River Severn is closed at the moment and you can't get to the lock without going through Llanthony Road Bridge. So just about impossible to get off the G&S and keep a low profile

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1 minute ago, StephenA said:

 

G&S bridges are only open on certain days at this time of year and in some places the same person runs more than one bridge. River Severn is closed at the moment and you can't get to the lock without going through Llanthony Road Bridge. So just about impossible to get off the G&S and keep a low profile


Yes this is a concern! If it were summer, you could just tag along behind another boat going through the bridges.

 

The thing is that if the OP has done something such as assaulted a bridge keeper (even if only in retaliation) then that is a matter for the police, not for CRT to apportion blame. Maybe there is history that we don’t know about?
 

And in fact if the OP was the one assaulted first, maybe he should report it to the police, although of course a couple of weeks has now passed.

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16 minutes ago, GUMPY said:

Boater assaults bridge keeper and wonders why he is in 💩

 

Should have stayed on your boat and just carried on.

 

I hear anger management courses are widely available 😉

He does say that he was assaulted first. Yes it would have been better not to be goaded into an argument, but we are not all perfect!

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1 hour ago, Markblox said:

I had an altercation with a bridge keeper recently, one where I received abuse, sent some back and moored up to ask why etc and then was assaulted and defended myself.

 

Did he 'assault' you or was he defending himself against somebody he perceived was about to assault him because they took the time to moor up and come back to remonstrate with him?

Edited by M_JG
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OP says he reported incident earlier, possibly CRT helpline

Most adults would know to put serious  complaints in writing or to speak to the licencing officer followed up in writing.

 

Edited by LadyG
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2 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

He does say that he was assaulted first. Yes it would have been better not to be goaded into an argument, but we are not all perfect!

He could not have been assaulted if he had stayed on his boat, and kept going 

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AFAIK CRT can't suspend a licence for an (alleged) assault on its staff, unless anyone can point to legislation or rules which show otherwise.

 

Given that, the recourse CRT has is to report it to the police or bring a private prosecution for the assault - have they indicated they will do this, or have done this? 

 

If its a case of "he started it....." then its going to be an uphill battle convincing the police or other authorities that a bridge keeper in a position of authority started something unprovoked, but we will see.

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1 hour ago, nicknorman said:

Obviously we are only getting one side of the story, but as you describe it there are a few issues - one needs a licence to have a boat on the canals, not to move it. So if the boat is still on the canals, whether or not you move it is not relevant to the licence.  CRT are not empowered to tell you you can keep your boat on the canals but you can’t move it, other than when there is a general stoppage affecting everyone. I am pretty sure there is no legal mechanism to suspend your licence, you either have a licence or you don’t.

 

If it were me I would continue to move my boat as I needed to (without telling them about it). What are they going to do, come and shoot you? However I suggest it would be advisable to keep a low profile and try not to get into any more arguments! I suppose you are on the part of the system that requires co-operation with land based people (bridge and lock operators) but whether or no CRT are efficient enough to send out an “arrest warrant” to their bridge and lock keepers to deny you passage, I somewhat doubt. I would aim to get off that part of the system and onto a part of the system where everything is self service (Worcs and Birmingham, etc)

 

I would also make a formal complaint to CRT that CRT are acting outside their powers and being unfair, vindictive and unreasonable. And as soon as possible, take the issue to the waterways ombudsman so that at least there is a public record of events.

Thanks for the reply, Once the licence is suspended the online account is blocked so I can't book any lock onto the Severn.

I have started a complaint and it has to go through their system before I can take it to the ombudsman.  If I move the boat whilst under suspension it would give them the perfect excuse to revoke it I reckon.  If they do revoke it at the end of suspension I would have no incentive not to move, as you say, what are they going to do.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

He does say that he was assaulted first. Yes it would have been better not to be goaded into an argument, but we are not all perfect!

Should have stayed on his boat and carried on then it would never have happened. You have to know when to move on 

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54 minutes ago, nicknorman said:


Yes this is a concern! If it were summer, you could just tag along behind another boat going through the bridges.

 

The thing is that if the OP has done something such as assaulted a bridge keeper (even if only in retaliation) then that is a matter for the police, not for CRT to apportion blame. Maybe there is history that we don’t know about?
 

And in fact if the OP was the one assaulted first, maybe he should report it to the police, although of course a couple of weeks has now passed.

spoke to a retired police officer yesterday and he said I should let them come to me.  No history, three years on the boat all over the network.

42 minutes ago, GUMPY said:

Boater assaults bridge keeper and wonders why he is in 💩

 

Should have stayed on your boat and just carried on.

 

I hear anger management courses are widely available 😉

 

2 minutes ago, GUMPY said:

Should have stayed on his boat and carried on then it would never have happened. You have to know when to move on 

Yes, I should have but this isn't about what I should have done.  I haven't asked what I should have done.

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44 minutes ago, GUMPY said:

Boater assaults bridge keeper and wonders why he is in 💩

 

Should have stayed on your boat and just carried on.

 

I hear anger management courses are widely available 😉

 

38 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Let's hope OP learns to control his temper in future.

There was no reason to leave the boat and start or restart an argument with the keeper, its an aggressive move.

 

I'm really not asking for a discussion and judgements on what I should done,  I would however like advice on my options please.

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27 minutes ago, LadyG said:

OP says he reported incident earlier, possibly CRT helpline

Most adults would know to put serious  complaints in writing or to speak to the licencing officer followed up in writing.

 

I wasn't complaining, but I did report it and it was logged.  They had that information but neglected to contact me.

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I would carry about your normal business. I don't think they can suspend you under these circumstances - there is no provision in the rules. I believe you have a good case for the suspension to be "annulled", ie it never existed in the first place. So you can't later be guilty of a transgression of the suspension.

 

I also don't believe a court injunction will come your way - I believe it would fall flat on its face if an alleged assault occurred but the police weren't called and even if they were, if no further action was forthcoming.

 

Just for the sake of clarity - were the police called or involved at any stage?

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10 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

The OP came on here asking for advice about his current situation. I doubt he came on here so a bunch of sad old people could have an opportunity to say “Oooh, you shouldn’t have done that” to make themselves feel briefly superior.

Yes thank you, If anyone replies can you just read my carefully worded questions and if you can offer advice please do. Appreciated.

4 minutes ago, frangar said:

I do wonder what happened. Whilst I’ve had to remind some bridge keepers I’m there with a toot as they don’t seem to listen to VHF these days I’ve found them pretty good in the main. 
 

Be interesting to know the full story from both sides. 

Yes, I have also found them good in the main too.  

5 minutes ago, Paul C said:

I would carry about your normal business. I don't think they can suspend you under these circumstances - there is no provision in the rules. I believe you have a good case for the suspension to be "annulled", ie it never existed in the first place. So you can't later be guilty of a transgression of the suspension.

 

I also don't believe a court injunction will come your way - I believe it would fall flat on its face if an alleged assault occurred but the police weren't called and even if they were, if no further action was forthcoming.

 

Just for the sake of clarity - were the police called or involved at any stage?

I have been told the police were called and the CRT has said they will talk to me but I haven't heard from them.

The allegations are against the T&C's

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Looks like CRT have invoked clause 12.3 of their T&Cs viz:-

 

 

12.3. If You repeatedly breach these Conditions, fail to pay for the Licence or We reasonably believe that there is serious risk to people's health and safety, or of damage to any property or pollution, We may do one of the following: 12.3.1. immediately suspend Your Licence. We will investigate to decide whether the breach can be put right. Whilst Your Licence is suspended You may not use the Boat to navigate on Our Waterways. The Boat must remain moored where We tell You whilst We investigate.  We will tell You when and if the Boat can leave this mooring location.  You may move the Boat before We complete Our investigation if You remove it from Our Waterways; or 12.3.2. terminate Your Licence immediately. This can happen if We decide the breach cannot be put right. We will also terminate the Licence when the number of repeated breaches is unreasonable and/or likely to risk the health and safety of others. We will not refund any suspension period or remaining licence period if the Licence is terminated under this Condition 12.3.

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17 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

The OP came on here asking for advice about his current situation. I doubt he came on here so a bunch of sad old people could have an opportunity to say “Oooh, you shouldn’t have done that” to make themselves feel briefly superior.

 

That may well be correct, however this is actually a 'discussion' forum and posting about such an incident is highly likely to generate posts on related matters.

 

A bit like when you got into a 'disagreement" with the Wigan volockies.

 

It's the nature of the beast.

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