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13 OCT 2009

CRIMINAL LAW: Barry v Birmingham Magistrates' Court [2009] EWHC 2571 (Admin)

(Queen's Bench Division, Divisional Court; Scott Baker LJ and Cranston J; 13 October 2009)

The father sought to have a summons issued against the mother, in respect of three incidents in which the mother had ignored the father's attempts to make contact with the child, or had threatened to report the father to the police.

There was no requirement that a person seeking to have a summons issued must approach the police first, although in a particular case it might be a relevant circumstance whether or not the person seeking a summons had approached the police. Inasmuch as the district judge had suggested that it was an invariable requirement that the person take the matter first to the police, he had been wrong in law. On the other hand, in this case the district judge might well have decided that the essential ingredients of harassment were prima facie absent, in that the three incidents described by the father had come nowhere near constituting harassment by the mother, under Protection from Harassment Act 1997, s 1.

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