Freedom for press to listen to court cases

The story they didn’t want telling
The case that a court minion and lawyer tried to keep secret concerned a notorious firm called RTA, which claims to market businesses that are for sale.

Its latest target was Baron Marcus, who runs a hardware store called So Many Things at an age when most people will have retired.

RTA sales rep David Hill persuaded Baron to put his store in Hall Green, Birmingham, up for sale.

“I asked him who would pay for this service and he replied with three words – ‘the buyer pays’,” said Baron.

The truth was the 76-year-old was expected to pay £10,000 to Stockport-based RTA and, having discovered this, he contacted the firm the next morning to cancel.

But RTA, as my thick file on it shows, doesn’t let a small business out of its clutches so easily.

It demanded £950 plus VAT – heaven knows what service it thought that it had performed overnight to justify this sum.

Baron refused to pay so it sued him.

At the hearing, Baron said that he’d been “duped” into signing the paperwork that was put in front of him, being told that it was just a “schedule”, not a contract.

Deputy District Judge Claire Jackson threw out RTA’s claim, saying that its rep was guilty of “a fundamental misrepresentation” and the contract was “unenforceable”.

Outside the court Baron, who wept when he heard the result, said: “It’s been eight months of hell, I have thought about it when I sleep, when I eat, all the time.

“I feel like I’ve lost because of what it cost me to fight a battle I didn’t pick. I didn’t choose to go through this but somehow I’ve got to find £1,200 to pay my legal bill.”