Tag Archives: Stalking

New Stalking Offences

Following amendments to the Protection of Freedom Bill, the promised legislation to make stalking a specific criminal offence is close to becoming a reality. Amendments passed on 19 March will introduce new sections in the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 to create two separate offences of stalking.

One, under a new s2A will be a lower level offence of stalking causing fear or alarm. The second, under s4A, is a more serious offence of stalking causing either a fear of violence or serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on someone’s daily activities.

The offence under s2A will be triable only in the Magistrates Court while the s4A offence will be triable either way but is expected to be sent to the Crown Court in the majority of cases. Continue reading

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Litigation may be harassment

Crown Court and County Court in Oxford.

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A recent successful judicial review is not only an example of why there is a view (which I don’t share) that a new offence of stalking is needed but also shows how failures to prosecute effectively may be challenged.

In R (on the application of Waxman) v Crown Prosecution Service [2012] EWHC 133 (Admin) which is not on BAILII yet, Claire Waxman successfully challenged the CPS decision to drop the prosecution of her stalker, Elliot Fogel, and was awarded damages for its failure to take proper measures to protect her. Continue reading

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One for the Price of Two

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It was reported this week that David Cameron was supporting the recommendation of the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Stalking Law Reform to bring in legislation to create a new offence of stalking.

If he thought this was something with which to gain universal approval, he has failed as far as I’m concerned.

Let me be clear. I fully support the work of many people and groups such as Protection Against Stalking and Action Scotland Against Stalking to highlight the shattering and sometimes fatal effect stalking can have on lives and to ensure effective intervention and prosecution.

However, while there are sound reasons to modify existing legislation, I have not heard any convincing argument to justify the creation of a new offence.

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Fit for Purpose?

Picture of pencil breaking in useThe most widely reported finding of the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Stalking Law Reform is that the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (PHA) should be reformed or replaced as it is unfit for purpose.

That is perhaps an unfortunate headline for an otherwise excellent analysis of the practical problems in enforcing stalking cases. It is unfortunate as a full reading of the report reveals it is not the PHA itself which is defective but its application. And, while there is merit in some of the amendments suggested, if the PHA were applied and enforced effectively, it is difficult to see any real benefit in creating a specific, separate offence of stalking as opposed to harassment.

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