A SWINDON man who was banned from entering his home village by a court order after pursuing a “campaign of harassment” against a neighbour has asked top judges to rule that the move was unlawful.

Michael Redpath was a secure council tenant, living in Warnage Green, Upper Wanborough, when, on February 17, 2003, he was convicted by Swindon magistrates of a drink driving offence, after information was given to police about him by a neighbour. He was jailed for six months.

Upon his release, he began a “continuous campaign of anti-social behaviour” and “harassment” against the neighbour who had informed on him, which included death threats and damage to the man’s home and several people’s cars.

This led to Swindon Borough Council obtaining an antisocial behaviour injunction against him on June 27, 2006, banning him from entering the village or engaging in anti-social behaviour there.

Just days later, in July 2006, he was evicted from his home as a result of his behaviour and rent arrears, but continued his “vendetta” against his former neighbour and his partner.

On April 2, 2007, he was given an eight-month sentence for breaching the ASBI, and a second ASBI, in similar terms to the first, was imposed. On July 21, 2008 the current ASBI, again in similar terms, was imposed at Swindon County Court.

At London’s Civil Appeal Court, Redpath’s barrister, Jan Luba QC, argued before Lord Justice Rix, Lord Justice Carthwath and Lord Neuberger that the County Court judge had been wrong to impose the latest ASBI.

Mr Luba told the court that the ASBI had been imposed under the Housing Act 1996, whereas Mr Redpath’s behaviour had not been housing-related and he was no longer the council's tenant.

In those circumstances it should be quashed, he argued.

The barrister added that, while Mr Redpath had damaged the window of a house during his campaign, it had not been a council house, and was therefore not relevant to the local authority.

“The conduct was part of a vendetta against his neighbours which originates from their involvement in his arrest and had nothing to do with their house or housing circumstances,” Mr Luba said.

Andrew Arden QC, for the council, argued that it made no difference whether Mr Redpath was still living in a council house or not.

He said: “The third ASBI sought to address a continuous course of anti-social conduct, by a former tenant of the authority, in a distinct area which includes local authority housing accommodation. There has been no material change in circumstances since the grant of the first and second ASBIs.”

Recognising the importance of the case, the three judges reserved their decision after a day-long hearing, until an unspecified later date.