A FORMER night porter at a prominent Bournemouth apartment building is in line for more than £55,000 in back pay after a legal victory.

Anthony Coletta fought a five-year legal battle over his claim that he had not been paid the national minimum wage during his time working at Bath Hill Court.

Although he won his case at an employment tribunal in 2015, lawyers for Bath Hill Court (Bournemouth) Property Management had argued that the law limited his back payments to six years.

Mr Coletta successfully appealed to the Employment Appeals Tribunal over the issue and its decision was upheld when the management company fought the case to the Court of Appeal.

The outcome means Mr Coletta can recover his underpayments for the whole length of his employment, from 2000-2014.

He is in line for £55,649 minus PAYE.

His case was taken up by Southampton law firm Paris Smith on a pro bono basis.

Mr Coletta said in a statement: “I am delighted with the outcome of the case and want to convey my thanks for Andrew Willshire and Clive Dobbin at Paris Smith for their hard work and commitment to my case over the years.

“Without Paris Smith taking on my case on a pro bono basis, I would not have been able to afford representation to bring my claims. I am also extremely thankful to Betsan Criddle of Old Square Chambers who also acted on a pro bono basis, for all her hard work and commitment.”

The original employment hearing was told that Mr Coletta had gone to work as a porter at Bath Hill Court in 2000, later becoming one of two head porters.

When on duty, the head porters at the grand 1930s block worked from 7am-7pm but remained on call during the night while living in flats provided. They were only allowed to leave the site to go to the nearby garage for milk or a newspaper, the tribunal heard. The tribunal found that the time on call constituted work and that Mr Coletta had been entitled to the national minimum wage.

Paris Smith worked on the case from a preliminary hearing at the employment tribunal to a remedies hearing – a process which included three appeals to the Employment Appeals Tribunal and two to the Court of Appeal.

Andrew Willshire of Paris Smith said: “I am very pleased for our client that the court of appeal has ruled in his favour. Paris Smith is committed to providing great service to all clients, and we have acted on a pro bono basis for our client over the years which has allowed him to pursue his case.

“It has been great to be involved in this case and I am delighted it has culminated in such a positive result for our client.”