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stalking becomes a criminal offence

On 25 November 2012, section 111 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 came into force.  This creates two specific offences: 'stalking', and 'stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress'. The provision has inserted the offences into the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. The former offence carries a maximum prison sentence of six months, the latter of five years.

The new section 2A of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 states that:-

 (1) A person is guilty of an offence if:

 (a) the person pursues a course of conduct in breach of section 1(1); and

 (b) the course of conduct amounts to stalking.

 (2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(b) (and section 4A(1)(a)) a persons course of conduct amounts to stalking of another person if:

 (a) it amounts to harassment of that person;

 (b) the acts or omissions involved are ones associated with stalking; and

 (c) the person whose course of conduct it is knows or ought to know that the course of        ........conduct amounts to harassment of the other person.

 The Act lists the following examples of behaviour which can constitute stalking:-

(a) following a person;

(b) contacting, or attempting to contact, a person by any means;

(c) publishing any statement or other material:

(i) relating or purporting to relate to a person; or

(ii) purporting to originate from a person;

(d) monitoring the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic   communication;

(e) loitering in any place (whether public or private);

(f)  interfering with any property in the possession of a person; and

(g)  watching or spying on a person.

The aggravated offence of stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress is inserted at section 4A of the same Act.


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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.