In this Court of Appeal case, the local authority had issued a possession order against a tenant who had been convicted of being knowingly concerned in the cultivation of cannabis. This was on the basis that he had violated his tenancy agreement and that this conduct was likely to become a nuisance to his neighbours.
The judge however suspended this possession order for two years on the basis that the defendant appeared to have ceased his offending behaviour. On appeal it was determined that the judge had exercised her discretion poorly and the order should be upheld. Where an individual has committed a criminal offence then a possession order should only be suspended in exceptional circumstances where there is cogent evidence to demonstrate that the offender's particular conduct has ceased. Here there was no such evidence, the judge had made no mention to his previous convictions, nor had she even heard oral evidence from him.
Local authorities have a duty to keep areas free of criminal conduct and unless a court is provided with evidence demonstrating real hope that the individual has changed their ways then those authorities are entitled to an outright possession order.
The case can be viewed here.