THE OWNERS of East Thurrock United have won a bitter High Court battle over ownership of the club.
The decision was detailed in an extremely detailed 72 page document that can be read here.
The root of the issue went back to 2002 when the club, then run by members, was in debt to Green King Brewery who were threatening to close it down and take possession of the site. A number of bidders came forward to the club and Ben Bennett was selected by members as the best candidate and he took over.
At the heart of the case, heard by Judge George Bompas QC, were Mr Bennett’s son Wayne, his nephew Trevor Ford and local businessman Simon Renoldi. They claimed they were due a share of any profits from the sale of the land as they helped Mr Bennett senior turn the club’s fortunes around.
In his decision, Judge Bompas concludes: “In the result my conclusion is that the Defendants have no beneficial interest in the Ground, or in the Football Club, and no claim against Ben or Dominique for an account either in respect of the putative partnership or in respect of amounts received from or spent on the Ground. Their claims against the Claimants fail, subject only to the claim referred to in paragraph 148 above.
The final two paragraphs of the decision state:
“The Claimants will be entitled to the claimed declaration that Wayne has no right or interest in the Ground and to have an order for the cancellation of Wayne’s application for the entry of a restriction against the title to the Ground. On the other hand the Defendants’ claims will be dismissed, with the exception of Wayne’s claim to a declaration concerning the transfer of shares in the Second Company. As to this claim, the declaration ought to be simply that there has been no transfer made by Wayne of any shares in the Second Company.
“When this judgment is handed down I will make an order in the terms indicated in the previous paragraph. But as this judgment is to be handed down shortly before the Long Vacation and the parties may not be in a position to deal with the costs and other consequential orders following this judgment, I propose to direct pursuant to CPR 52.12(1)(a) that the Defendants’ time for filing an appellants’ notice at the Court of Appeal should be 8 weeks, to 19 September 2018. In making this direction I am not at this time giving the Defendants permission to appeal: that will be a matter to be considered if an application for permission is made. Rather I fintend that the Defendants should have ample time if they need to prepare any application, and that the time for seeking to appeal should not have expired before any further hearing to deal with the consequential orders.