Committal for Contempt of Court in Open Court at the County Court sitting at Derby – Davenport

|Contempt of Court

Derwent Housing Association t/a Derwent Living  -v- Mr Daniel Davenport

Case number: B00DE118

Judgment of District Judge Harris-Short

Derby Combined Court, 27th November 2015

  1. This is an application brought by Derwent Housing Association for Committal of the Defendant, Mr Daniel Davenport, for breach of an Interim Injunction made pursuant to Part 1 of the Anti-Social behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 by Miss Recorder Rodgers on 4th November 2015.

Background:

  1. Mr Davenport is a tenant of the Claimant.

Terms of the Injunction:

  1. The terms of the Injunction provide that Mr Davenport is forbidden from:

1a) Engaging in conduct which causes or is likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to any person residing in, visiting or otherwise engaged in a lawful activity on Greyfriars Place, Mickleover, Derby.

1b) Assaulting or threatening to assault any person residing in, visiting or otherwise engaged in a lawful activity at Greyfriars Place, Mickleover, Derby.

1c) Abusing, harassing or otherwise interfering with any person residing in, visiting or otherwise carrying on a lawful activity on Greyfriars Place.

1d) Engaging in loud and aggressive arguments within the premises or any other premises on Greyfriars Place.

A power of arrest was attached to paras 1b) and 1c) of that order.

  1. I am satisfied that the Injunction was served personally on Mr Davenport at Derby Combined Court Centre on 4th November 2015 and he was therefore fully aware of its terms.

Allegations of breach

  1. It is alleged that on 23rd November 2015 at 20:35 hours, Mr Davenport harassed and abused PC Hussain who was carrying out a lawful activity at Greyfriars Place, Mickleover, Derby, and engaged in conduct likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance by:
  • Upon PC Hussain attending at his residential address to arrest him, Mr Davenport refused to open the door and made threats to come outside with a dirty needle.

It should be noted that shortly after the threat was made Mr Davenport was arrested peacefully and complied with the police officers in attendance.

Law:

  1. I remind myself that an alleged breach of a civil Injunction must be proved to the criminal standard of proof: beyond reasonable doubt.

Evidence:

  1. I have seen and considered the signed statement of PC Hussain dated 23rd November 2015.
  1. I have also seen and considered the signed statement of Mr Davenport dated 26th November 2015. In that statement he admits using language to PC Hussain to the effect of ‘dirty syringe’. It is his position that he has no clear recollection of what he said to PC Hussain having just woken up and suffering the effects of not taking his medication for a number of weeks.

Findings:

  1. On the basis of the evidence of PC Hussain and the admissions of Mr Davenport I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that on the 23rd November 2015 at 20:35 and upon PC Hussain attending at the residential address of Mr Davenport to arrest him he refused to open the door and made threats to come outside with a dirty needle. I am further satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that that conduct constituted a breach of clauses 1a) and 1c) of the Injunction of 4th November 2015 in that it amounted to the harassment and abuse of PC Hussain whilst carrying out a lawful activity at Greyfriars Place, Mickleover, Derby and constituted conduct likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance.

Sentence:

  1. I am satisfied that this was a minor breach and I give due credit for the admission that Mr Davenport has made this afternoon. In coming to sentence I have had regard to the Sentencing Guidelines for a breach of a civil junction, the starting point being a custodial sentence of 6 weeks, to be varied upwards or downwards in accordance with the particular circumstances of the case and any aggravating or mitigating factors.
  1. I have considered two psychiatric reports dated 14th May 2015 and 2 June 2015 regarding Mr Davenport’s mental health and its relevance to these proceedings.
  1. I also have regard to the fact that this is the first breach of the Injunction and the breach did not involve any acts of violence or threats of violence. Again, I have taken into account that it is a minor breach and give due credit for the admission Mr Davenport makes.
  1. On the other hand, the breach of a civil injunction is a serious matter that carries with it the threat of an immediate custodial sentence. The Orders of the Court are to be complied with. The fact that this breach occurred just ten days after the Injunction was granted shows a certain disregard for the Orders of the Court.
  1. Balancing all these facts I sentence Mr Davenport to a custodial sentence of 4 weeks, suspended for two years upon condition that Mr Davenport complies in full with the terms of the Injunction as amended by Miss Recorder Rodgers on 24th November 2015.

DJ Harris-Short
27th November 2015