Committal for Contempt of Court in Open Court at the County Court sitting at Portsmouth – Gash

|Contempt of Court


14 September 2015

District Judge Veysey


Portsmouth City Council


Amy Gash

Written Judgement of District Judge Veysey on appearance of the Defendant on 14 September after arrest for an alleged breach of an order made by this court.

1.Ms Gash appears in person and is not represented save for the presence of a mental health worker.Ms O’Keefe.Ms Blair,solicitor,appears on behalf of the Claimant.

2.I have explained to the Defendant why she has been arrested and brought before the court.I have asked her whether she has taken legal advice and she told me that she has had a solicitor for the Magistrate Court proceedings,Mr Stokes. He could not represent her today.She understands why she is here.I informed her that it would be better if the matter was adjourned so that she could be represented.The Defendant requested that the matter be dealt with today.

3.The Defendant gave her reasons for coming to Portsmouth namely to collect her things from the Police Station.She met some friends and took heroin.She then went to her mothers house and tried to gain entry because she heard a baby crying.She accepted that she was in breach of the order of 27 February 2015 which restrains the Defendant from;

  1. entering or attempting to enter then area shown on the map marked as “A”,edged red
  2. using or threatening to use violence towards Mrs Gill Gash
  3. shouting and or swearing at Mrs Gill Gash
  4. contacting directly Mrs Gill Gash

There is a power of arrest attached and I am satisfied that such order was served upon the Defendant.

4.The defendant admitted the breach.She has seen and read the witness statements of PC Mark Pilsworth and Mrs Gill Gash.

5. Ms O’Keefe informed me that the Defendant has stopped taking her anti-depressants and is continuing to find it difficult to cope with the pressures of life.She has been trying to get the Defendant to engage with the drug and alcohol service but she has relapsed.She stated that further support can be provided to the |Defendant whether in prison or outside.I am satisfied that the Defendant understands these proceedings and the consequences of breach which may include imprisonment

6. This is now the third breach following breaches in April and June of this year. The reason for going to her mother’s house are not credible.The witness statement filed by Mrs Gash refers to 52 occasions of harassment.I have to consider her position and the need to provide her with protection.

7. I have considered the Sentencing Guidelines for a breach of an antisocial behaviour order.I take into account the Defendant’s acceptance of fault but note the persistent nature of the breach.Indeed this breach occurred only days after release from prison in relation to other matters.Despite help being offered to the Defendant she has not engaged with such help.I am satisfied that the breach was deliberate and that alarm was caused to Mrs Gash..

8. I consider that the appropriate sentence is one of 4 weeks.It is to be hoped that further help can be provided to Ms Gash in prison.