Committal for Contempt of Court in Open Court at the County Court sitting at Walsall: Taylor

|Contempt of Court

In The County Court at Walsall

B01WJ276

Monday 13th June 2016

Before:

His Honour Judge Gregory

Between:

Walsall Housing Group – Applicant

and

Alma Taylor – Respondent

 

Representation

Mr ………. appeared on behalf of the Applicant.

Mr Woodson appeared on behalf of the Respondent.

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JUDGMENT – FOR APPROVAL

J U D G M E N T

HIS HONOUR JUDGE GREGORY:

  1. Stand up, Alma Taylor. Anybody who has read the witness statement of Mandy Keane cannot help but sympathise with her and be deeply concerned by the miserable time that you have caused her – a lady who is elderly and vulnerable, by reason of numerous health problems. You have exercised no control whatsoever over behaviour of your relatives in your flat; you have permitted her to be disturbed and to suffer a continuing and long-lasting noise disturbance, which has caused her – and I quote: “…to feel that she is at the end of her tether now, such that she doesn’t know how much longer she can cope with this situation.” It seems to her that you think that whatever happens, you can do as you like and get away with it. It is your obligation to behave properly and to ensure that people who come to your flat also behave properly. Ultimately, if you cannot live in a civilised and neighbourly fashion, upon that basis you will be evicted from it. Do you understand that?

THE RESPONDENT: Yeah, I do; but –

HIS HONOUR JUDGE GREGORY:

  1. Counsel has spoken upon your behalf. In an attempt to protect Mrs Keane and her husband from the nuisance that you were creating, Walsall Housing Group obtained an injunction against you. You have today admitted that over a period of some five months or so, you have breached that on no less than 14 occasions. You breached it through the conduct which you permitted others to indulge in at and around your flat and, in doing so, you made Mrs Keane’s life even more hellish than you had been making it before then.
  1. I have to punish you for these breaches because you have placed yourself in a continuing and repeated contempt of court, which is plainly contumelious by the length of time for which it has gone on and the number of occasions upon which it has been committed. I take into account that, of themselves, these breaches are not the most grave type of behaviour. I take into account that it has not been deliberately directed at your neighbours – it has been, instead, an uncaring and un-neighbourly and an utterly selfish attitude to how you would live there. You must understand that the court’s orders are not made for fun but to be obeyed. I do not propose to send you immediately to jail today – it is far better that you should be encouraged to live in peace and harmony with your neighbours, to obey the order that has been made, and to learn to behave in a more civilised manner. Do you understand that?

THE RESPONDENT: Yeah.

HIS HONOUR JUDGE GREGORY:

  1. For those reasons, for each of these breaches, I have come to the conclusion that the custody threshold is passed. I take into account the admissions that you have made to wholesale breaches today and your professed determination to obey the court order in future, and to abide by the terms of your tenancy; and, for those reasons, I impose a very modest sentence of imprisonment and I suspend it upon the terms that you comply with the order for the rest of its duration. Do you understand that?

THE RESPONDENT: Yeah.

HIS HONOUR JUDGE GREGORY:

  1. So, for each breach, the term is one of 14 days’ imprisonment concurrently – all suspended for the duration of the order, which is, I think, until 2018, 13th January 2018. So long as you commit no further breaches of the order, you will hear no more about it. It does not seem to me that that is asking too much. Should you commit any further breach of the order, you could be brought back, you would probably have to serve those 14 days and something on top, and you would find yourself on the wrong end of an application for a possession order. Do you understand all that?

THE RESPONDENT: Yeah, I do.

HIS HONOUR JUDGE GREGORY:

  1. Very well; then that is the order that I make.