Landlord who let himself into female tenant’s flat loses appeal
A landlord who was arrested after he let himself into the flat of a female tenant in the early morning has been told by appeal judges that the revoking of his licence will stand.
The woman had believed Thomas Coyle wanted sex and locked herself in her room, but he insisted he had not been there for “evil purposes”.
Mr Coyle, 53, resisted the police and was fined £500 in the criminal courts, and Glasgow’s licensing committee took a serious view of the incident, rejecting his application for renewal of a licence.
He tried to appeal but lost first in front of a sheriff and, now, at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, where the judges said they were not persuaded that any breach of natural justice had occurred.
The court heard that Mr Coyle, of Exeter Drive, Glasgow, owned 12 properties in the city, including three classed as a House in Multiple Occupation, which had been managed without any problems or complaints until events at a flat in Walker Street in February 2010.
An account from the police report was given to the committee. The tenant said that about 5:20am, she heard the flat buzzer being pressed repeatedly, followed by a knock at the door which was then opened. Mr Coyle knocked constantly on her bedroom door which she locked, the woman added. She was distressed and called the police.
“It was her impression from what he said that he had wanted to have sex with her,” the report stated.
“When police entered the flat...he was dismissive and said it was his house. Further officers required to attend to assist officers already present and he violently resisted arrest and spat at officers.”
Mr Coyle pleaded guilty to two charges of resisting arrest and was fined £250 on each. However, he maintained to the committee that he had been at the flat the previous night to carry out some repair work. Later, he realised he had left his keys to his home, and he stayed the night with a friend. Next day, he had an appointment in Edinburgh and was keen to return home.
He said he telephoned the flat but there was no reply. He went there, and tried the buzzer and knocked on the door, again with no reply. He thought the flat was unoccupied and used his set of keys to let himself in. He heard movement, and called out to identify himself. The tenant had already heard him and, being frightened, had already called the police. When officers arrived, he tried to explain what had happened but the situation “got out of hand.” Mr Coyle’s solicitor submitted to the committee that his presence in the flat had not been for “evil purposes” and although he had not handled the situation well, and in hindsight should not have gone to the flat so early, he was still a fit and proper person to hold a House in Multiple Occupation licence.
The committee said Mr Coyle’s conduct fell well below the expected standard of behaviour, and he was not a fit and proper person to be the holder of a licence.
In the appeal, lawyers for Mr Coyle argued that an objection by the police to his application had been based on his convictions, yet the committee had acted in breach of natural justice by entertaining submissions which went beyond the charges of resisting arrest.
Lord Mackay, sitting with Lords Bonomy and Philip, said: “In our opinion, all that was said by (the police) representative when he addressed the committee was unexceptionable and can fairly be described as placing the convictions in context. What was said amounted to no more than informing the committee of when, where and in what circumstances he came to be arrested and to commit the two offences of which he was convicted. In these circumstances, no valid objection can be taken to such information being placed before the committee or relied on by the committee in reaching their decision.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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