The law does not provide a comprehensive definition of harassment. The term is used to cover the ‘causing alarm or distress’ offences under section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (PHA) and ‘putting people in fear of violence’ offences under section 4 of the PHA. The term can also include harassment by two or more defendants against an individual or harassment against more than one victim. There are many acts that can amount to harassment in the eyes of the law.

Regardless of the allegation, our lawyers will ensure to handle matters quickly and discreetly and our principal concern is always to limit disruption for our clients in respect of reputational and professional damage. We have experience in preventing unwarranted publication of personal or damaging material that is often associated with these allegations. We have an excellent track record of avoiding the need for an arrest and in achieving the best possible outcomes for clients.

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Sentencing

Harassment is a summary only offence, which means it can be tried in the magistrates’ court. As the sentencing powers of the magistrates’ court are limited, the maximum penalty for this offence is 6 months’ imprisonment and/or a fine. However, more serious harassment cases could result in the case being heard at the Crown court and attract a much longer prison sentence.

Defences

After an initial free consultation, our lawyers will swiftly work on a strategy for your case. The main defences to harassment are:

  • That the course of conduct was for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime.
  • That it was conducted under a rule of law. For example, companies acting within their legal entitlement, for example, a Building Society manager warning in writing of repossession proceedings, because of default in mortgage payments, followed by repossession taking place.
  • That it was reasonable in the circumstances, this is a wide defence and what amounts to reasonable behaviour will rest with the courts.

The Next Step

If you are charged with, or investigated for, this offence, call our harassment solicitors now on 0203 666 5155.

If you would like to learn more about how Sperrin Law can assist you please get in touch using either the contact details below or the form provided.