I’ve just read of a terrible case in London. It is reported on London24.com that a man was found guilty on 9th October of a murder arising out of a neighbour dispute.
The issue apparently arose from a female neighbour washing some carpets. Dirty water drained out of her property into another garden. This led to a confrontation.
Later in the evening there was a heated row. One of the people present was described by the Judge as having “completely overreacted” by carrying a kitchen knife. This led to a stabbing incident.
On sentencing the man, the Judge stated: “Instead of doing your best to diffuse the situation, you simply made it worse by your aggression. You completely overreacted for what was perhaps the belligerent behaviour of the children.”
Neighbour disputes often lead to arguments and inflamed tempers. I have seen similar levels of anger over the years and some minor assaults. But nothing of this nature.
This tragic case serves to illustrate that neighbours need to seek to resolve their differences amicably if at all possible. Lawyers involved in cases can assist by tempering their language and proposing alternative dispute resolution where possible.
Some cases will inevitably end up in court, but hopefully this will be civil courts and not criminal.
By Andrew Leakey Partner and head of the dispute resolution department