Updated: Sep 14
On Friday, 17th February 2023, my wife and I attended The Royal Courts of Justice to defend ourselves and our entire community.
I made a clear and conscious decision to represent myself in court because of underhanded tactics from my landlord's lawyers as well as having only received the oppositions draft court statement less than 24 hours before hand, I was in no position to seek further council.
In December 2022, we submitted a defence statement to the claims made against us to reiterate why we are still in operation and on-site.
So February 17th was the court date provided for an in-person Directions Hearing. This was my first time in front of a judge for anything & like anything, you learn as you go through things, but in this journey right here, I've learnt a great deal and much of it of great value.
As I stood in front of this Judge, who was extremely impressive in his ability to listen to both new and old information and then decipher and articulate the facts as a stranger with a fresh perspective, he saw the injustice almost immediately.
Although he was the bearer of what is now bad news for Plush equally, he was the only person who, up until this point, has been transparent and fair.
I thought it would be good to share with you my statement I read to the Judge.
"Your Honour, I stand here today for myself and 28 members of my team who depend on these businesses to survive; I have been an exemplary tenant throughout the 20 years of my tenancy.
I am not refusing to leave or trying to be problematic despite the situation; I am merely fighting an injustice my landlord and developers choose to disregard.
I have served the community for 20 years and have become an essential part of this community.
The developers have been trying to avoid their responsibilities from 2019 since the application was submitted, hoping that I wouldn't find out that I had a right to relocation.
I am in this situation today because of their negligence, not mine, yet I receive no support from them in finding a resolution.
All I want is to continue with the businesses I have built over two decades, which provide essential services at affordable rates.
Your Honour - I will respect whatever decision you make; I ask that you carefully consider that this isn't a typical eviction and that there is an ongoing concern which needs to be addressed as I am, after all a businessman with protected characteristics.
We have been subject to a terrible injustice that needs careful consideration, so I thank you for your time."
Statement of Michael Clinkett of Plush SE16 read in court
17th February 2023 The Royal Courts of Justice
As I stood with pride and read this statement to Judge Cohen, at no point did we challenge with a claim or right to remain and the Judge re-confirmed this to the claimants representative and thanked me for delivering my statement with clarity and great respect.
Judge Cohen in his closing statements challenged and defended the claims against me in which the claimant / my landlord referred to me as a 'Squatter' - the Judge reminded them that this term should not be used as 'it is clear this is a businessman who just has not left' that squatters are that of people who choose to inhabit a space they stumble upon but "he has been there for two decades" the Judge went on further "Mr Clinkett it appears that their has been a great deal of injustice against you in regards to your Business Relocation".
Now as you would now know following this video we shared immediately after court:
28 DAYS TO GIVE BACK POSSESSION
The countdown continues
28 days to vacate the site of 19-25 Rotherhithe New Road SE16 2PS aka ' the land'
It's time to mobilise as one.