There will be no Christmas Crasbo against “tramp” Gavin Whalley, who faced a ban from the Ribble Valley.
The Crown Prosecution Service have dropped their application for a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order (Crasbo) against him, which was due to be heard at Blackburn Magistrates today (December 19th).
But had the application gone ahead, the homeless 41-year-old would have had a top team of lawyers fighting his case.
Defence solicitor Mr Andrew Church-Taylor has revealed that leading barrister Mr 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.
“There was a wealth of support for Gavin from people who live in the Ribble Valley when his story was first published,” said Mr Church-Taylor. 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 Clitheroe Advertiser for publishing the original story and the subsequent, lively debate that followed,” said Mr Church-Taylor.
In November Whalley pleaded guilty to begging in Clitheroe town centre and was fined. Prosecutor Miss 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.
Representing Whalley in court, 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, adding that Whalley could often be seen around Whalley and Clitheroe and on occasions he asked for charity. He is not aggressive and simply asks for spare change,” said Mr Church-Taylor.
“He is a man who depends on charity and is grateful for anything he is given.”