Schizophrenic man (80) at centre of council-tax storm

AN 80-YEAR-old schizophrenic man from Bestwood Village with an unpaid council-tax bill of £1,900 is at the centre of a prosecution that could cost a council £100,000.

Trevor Evans was made bankrupt in 2004 for the debt owed to Gedling Borough Council.

However his defence lawyer argues that because he is a paranoid schizophrenic, the bankruptcy order should be scrapped because his illness made it difficult for him to deal with financial matters.

Gedling Council has already spent £40,000 in pursuing the bankruptcy order against Mr Evans.

A district judge is yet to decide whether the bill will have to be paid by Mr Evans or the council.

Nottingham County Court also heard that the total bill for court costs and bankruptcy trustee fees is almost £69,000.

Should the case go against Mr Evans, he would be made homeless and Gedling Council would have to re-house him — bumping up the cost to the authority even further.

A final, written decision on the case is set to be made by the court in the coming weeks.

At the most recent hearing, Mr Evans’s barrister, Margaret Griffin, claimed the council had shown a “blinkered and agrressive” attitude.

The court heard that Mr Evans was arrested at one stage for a “verbal outburst” when visiting the council offices in Arnold.

But Adam Chambers, representing the council, said that there was not enough evidence to suggest Mr Evans did not understand what was happening.

He also rejected suggestions that council officers should take a person’s mental state into account when pursuing bankruptcy claims.

The district judge said: “It is a fact that someone will have to pay for this.”