VANCOUVER - British Columbia's Supreme Court has sided with a group of homeless people embroiled in a dispute with the City of Abbotsford, B.C., over their right to camp on public property.

A judge has rejected Abbotsford's bid to shut down a homeless camp after a group calling itself the Drug War Survivors took the municipality to court, alleging the city's regulations and harassment tactics violated their charter rights.

The judge also rejected the city's request for a permanent injunction against homeless camping.

The lawsuit follows incidents where municipal officials dumped chicken manure on a makeshift encampment and police slashed and pepper sprayed tents elsewhere.

A city lawyer said the local homeless population chooses to sleep outside rather than at available shelter space.

But David Wotherspoon of the Pivot Legal Society - an advocacy group representing the city's homeless in this case - argued it's wrong to blame his clients for their circumstances.