Isle of Wight businessman Jon Platt’s name went national when he fought the Isle of Wight council over refusal to pay a fine for taking his daughter out of school for a family holiday.
The magistrates said Mr Platt had no case to answer because his daughter had over 90% attendance when he took her out of school for a family holiday. However, today (Friday) the Isle of Wight council confirmed they have started the formal process of appeal to the High Court.
Jon Platt hadn’t been told
Jon Platt was somewhat taken aback when OnTheWight called him for a comment, as he hadn’t heard from the council about their plans.
“I’ve got no idea what it’ll mean for me, but I intend to defend myself.
Later he said,
“It surprises me that IWC have taken 2-3 weeks to come to the decision that they’ve got a basis to appeal.”
He explained that during the case,
“Magistrates went to their chambers (along with both solicitors) to deliberate and 20 mins into deliberations they asked for the clerk of the court to assist them on a point of law.
IWC tax payers money
He finished by saying,
“It probably is in everyone’s interest for this matter to be clarified beyond any doubt.
“It’s just a shame that Isle of Wight council will be dropping £15-20,000 of taxpayers money to take this to the High Court.”
Council leader and Executive member for children’s services, Councillor Jonathan Bacon, said,
“The recent media attention given to this case shows that there is interest, concern and, above all, uncertainty as to what constitutes ‘regular attendance’ for the purposes of the legislation in question. This is not a question that can be resolved by any local authority.
“The decision made by the magistrates was made on a point of law. The Isle of Wight Council has received clear advice that the magistrates may have failed to interpret and apply the law correctly in making their decision. Where the law created by Parliament is uncertain, the Appeal Courts have the ability to lay down a binding ruling as to the correct interpretation of the law.
“The Isle of Wight Council is of the view that, in light of the advice given, the importance of the issue and the need to obtain clarity, it would be appropriate to appeal the magistrates’ decision in this case in order to obtain a clear binding ruling as to what the law is on this issue. This will benefit parents and local authorities both on the Island and across the country, and may also inspire Parliament to look again at the legislation, which many feel they ought to.”
The council go on to say they will not be commenting further in relation to this case until the appeal has been determined, but in the meantime, “will continue to implement the government’s current statutory guidance around attendance”.
Jon has put together a brief outline of the argument used in his defence for not paying the school absence fines.
Further comments added from Jon Platt.