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updated 5/10/01
Hamer case struck out

OUR DOGS has received a press release from Mr Jack Bennett's legal advisers concerning the failed case brought by Mr Mark Hamer against the Secretary of Blackpool Championship Show Mr Jack Bennett. The statement clarifies the background to the case and the resulting order by District Judge Buckley that the claim be struck out.

On 7th March 2001, proceedings were issued by Mark Hamer against Jack Bennett, alleging that Jack Bennett had over-claimed expenses from the Blackpool and District Canine Society amounting to 21,219.80. The action was brought by Mr Hamer in person and was not a representative action on behalf of the members of Blackpool and District Canine Society.

Mark Hamer was in fact the Chairman of the committee at the Blackpool and District Canine Society and approved the accounts, including the expenses claimed by Jack Bennett, in some of the years that his allegations related to.

Jack Bennett has always strenuously denied the allegations against him. Blackpool and District Canine Society's auditors, Beckett and Co Chartered Accountants, were asked to investigate the allegations and found no evidence of any expenses being over-claimed by Jack Bennett as alleged or at all.

Mr Bennett has throughout the matter had the full support of the committee of the Blackpool and District Canine Society.

From the outset, advice was provided by Solicitors for Mr Bennett, Thurman and Leaver, that the claim against him was ill founded, stood little or no prospect of success and that any application to strike out the claim would stand a very high prospect of success. However, Mr Bennett did not instruct Thurman and Leaver to issue an application to strike out the claim, to avoid any accusation that he did not want a thorough investigation of the allegations.

District Judge Buckley, upon reviewing the case papers ordered a Case Management Conference on 24th September 2001 to consider "what order if any should be made consequent upon the Claimant suing in a representative capacity". The hearing was ordered on the court's own motion and not in following any application by Jack Bennett. District Judge Buckley ordered on 24th September 2001 that Mark Hamer's claim be struck out and that Mark Hamer pay Mr Bennett's legal costs. Mark Hamer was asked by District Judge Buckley whether he wished to seek leave to appeal against the decision and Mark Hamer indicated to the court that he did not.

The order made by the court supported the view taken by Thurman and Leaver solicitors that Mark hamer's claim did not have any real prospect of success.

Mr Bennett has commented as follows:

I am delighted that this matter had been laid to rest. I am pleased by the decision of the court to strike out Mark Hamer's claim and for him to pay legal costs. I would like to thank the committee and members of the Blackpool and District Canine Society for their support. I feel fully vindicated by the decision of the court to strike out the claim. I will now continue to devote my time to the continued success of Blackpool and District Canine Society as I have done for over 25 years."