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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 18:36 GMT
Tax protestor is back in court
Josephine Rooney protests outside Derby Magistrates' Court
Miss Rooney said she was willing to go to jail for non-payment
Pensioner council tax protestor Josephine Rooney, 69, has appeared in court for refusing to pay the levy for a second time.

The Derby churchgoer, jailed last year for non-payment of the tax, is refusing to pay claiming Derby City Council had not cleaned up the area she lives in.

Charged with non-payment of 676 in tax District Judge Caroline Goulborn issued her with an order to pay the arrears.

Council leader Chris Williamson said her claims had no foundation.

Miss Rooney was sentenced to three months in jail last June for non-payment of council tax, but spent one night behind bars after a benefactor settled her debt against her will.

Withholding my council tax is something I feel perfectly justified in doing if it roots out the evil in our midst
Josephine Rooney

In a statement, read by the judge sitting at Derby Magistrates' Court, the pensioner said local residents had canvassed Derby City Council for two decades to improve the Hartington Street area.

The canvassing had produced no effect, she said.

"It is with regret therefore, and the fact that little redress is available to me, that I have decided to withhold my council tax for the second time," she said.

"I am not refusing to pay my council tax, merely withholding it in anticipation that common sense will prevail.

"If it means going to prison then I will face such a situation with faith and in the knowledge that withholding my council tax is something I feel perfectly justified in doing if it roots out the evil in our midst," she said.

Not worked with council

Council leader Chris Williamson said none of her claims had any foundation.

"We have worked very hard to improve that part of the city, tackling prostitution, anti-social behaviour and drug abuse," he said.

"Miss Rooney has steadfastly refused to work with the council to tackle the problems."

In addition to the unpaid council tax Miss Rooney was ordered to pay 45 costs.

There was no timescale set by the court on the order, which allows the council to recover funds from wages, benefits or, via bailiffs, any items of value.

If the authority is still unable to retrieve the outstanding amount Miss Rooney could face jail again.




SEE ALSO
Tax protest donor gives apology
28 Jun 06 |  Derbyshire
Benefactor pays protester's bill
27 Jun 06 |  Derbyshire
Jail 'shocks' tax protest brother
27 Jun 06 |  Derbyshire
Council tax protester is jailed
26 Jun 06 |  Derbyshire

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