Farmer must "move along at a reasonable speed"

Posted: 2nd August 2012

Footpath 1A farmer who was accused of subjecting her neighbours to 'persistent surveillance' has failed to overturn an injunction requiring her to 'move along at a reasonable speed' when making use of a right of way.
In challenging the terms of the injunction at the Court of Appeal (Civil Division), the Appellant argued that the restriction on her walking pace would unreasonably inhibit her ability to make use of the right of way to walk her dogs.
Her lawyers submitted that the terms of the injunction were too vague, given the serious potential penalties for breaching them, including a substantial fine or imprisonment.
However, dismissing her appeal, Lord Justice Sullivan said that the Appellant would have nothing to fear so long as she used the right of way for legitimate purposes, including dog walking, rather than for 'snooping'.
The Appellant's barrister, Kevin Leigh, said that his client and her neighbours had for years been engaged in a 'needle match' over the right of way and the animosity between the parties was such that they 'cannot live with each other'.
The injunction, which also forbade the Appellant from filming or taking photographs on her neighbours' land, was granted last year under the Prevention of Harassment Act by a County Court judge, who said that the Appellant had conducted 'a campaign of unlawful harassment' through 'persistent surveillance' of her neighbours.
However, the Appellant argued at the Court of Appeal that the injunction effectively banned her from making use of the right of way to walk her dogs for fear that their 'dawdling' would put her in breach of the order.
Dismissing the appeal, Lord Justice Sullivan concluded: 'If you have previously not been passing along at a reasonable speed, and the reason is that you are snooping on your neighbours, then what is wrong with this order?'
'If the Appellant uses the footpath genuinely to walk her dogs, and not as a disguised snooping exercise, she has nothing to fear from the judge's order.’