If you have been accused of harassing another person, or if someone you know has been accused of acting in this way, the harassment defence solicitors at Wilford Smith can help. We take a non-judgemental approach to all of our clients' cases and place a great deal of importance in upholding individuals' rights to expert legal advice and representation to protect their rights and interests.
Our lawyers will take a ruthless approach when it comes to conducting your defence. We have many years of experience acting on behalf of a broad range of clients accused of committing harassment in many different contexts. We understand that harassment cases will often be complex and must be handled sensitively at all times. We will ensure that the advice that you receive is not only of the highest quality but is also proactive and discreet.
What is harassment?
The offence of harassment was introduced in the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. To secure a conviction, prosecutors must show that the accused pursued a course of conduct that amounts to harassment of another person and that they knew that harassment would be caused as a result.
Harassment does not require proof of physical harm – there are a range of circumstances in which harassment can be committed without violence. In many cases, a conviction can be based on the mental anguish suffered by a victim.
Examples of behaviour that can be considered harassment include:
- Repeatedly contacting someone by phone, text, email, or via social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
- Making unwanted/malicious communications
- Repeatedly filming or photographing someone
- Damaging someone's property
- Waiting outside someone's home or place of work
- Repeatedly sending unwanted gifts
How do the police and the courts deal with claims of harassment?
Due to the substantial levels of anxiety and distress that victims may suffer, the authorities take accusations of harassment very seriously.
Non-violent harassment cases are dealt with in the Magistrates' Court, with a maximum prison sentence of 6 months possible following a conviction. Someone who is found guilty of this type of harassment can also be subject to a fine.
Harassment cases that involve a threat of violence can be heard in the Crown Court. Judges have the power to sentence someone for up to 5 years in prison following a conviction.
Even if you are acquitted of the offence of harassment, there is still the possibility that you will face restrictions if there are concerns about your conduct. The court can make you the subject of a Restraining Order which prevents you from contacting the victim or going to particular places or addresses. Breaching such an order can result in a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
Contact our Specialist Harassment Defence Solicitors in Sheffield and London
Our solicitors regularly appear in court on behalf of our clients, providing representation from the first hearing through to the conclusion of a trial. We are available to provide representation at short notice, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you have been accused of harassment, contact one of our specialist criminal defence lawyers now.