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14/09/2005 - Hutchison 3G use intimidation tactics to keep people at bay

I understand that corporations have a principle motivation to make as much money as possible, but is it really ethical to drag out a court case with highly expensive corporate lawyers and then dump the bill on normal home owners with bad health?

Hutchison 3G have recently won a legal case against Agnes Ingvarsdottir and Ericur Petursson regarding a phone mast erected on a restaurant roof opposite their home. Shortly after the erection of the mast, the couple started noticing their health steadily declining, resulting in headaches, nausea, vomiting, tinnitus and even cardiovascular disease. Due to timing and circumstance the couple believed that nothing could possibly be the cause other than the phone mast, and were effectively forced to move house, selling the house for £50,000 less than it was valued at just two years earlier.

Because of the extreme impact the mast had apparently had on their lives, the couple felt they had no choice but to take Hutchison 3G to court. Unfortunately, court cases like this invariably refer to current and up-to-date scientific evidence, of which there is limited amounts relating to phone masts in general and, more importantly, almost none relating to the effects of the latest 3G systems. As such, it was always likely that the couple would have a hard, if not impossible, time proving any liability on behalf of Hutchison 3G. So one wonders whether 3G really had to use top corporate lawyers and draw out the case, and then use the high court to throw a legal bill of £400,000 at the poor couple whose lives had already been so adversely affected. Of course they aren't going to be able to pay such a large bill, and as they have their own small-time business declaring bankruptcy would entail financial ruin for them.

Of course, this sends out a very clear message: "Mess with us mobile phone companies and prepare to get badly burned" - maybe that was the point all along?

Times Online news article - Original article in the Times Online (Dated 14th September 2005)