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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

12 APR 2007

CONTEMPT: Patel v Patel [2007] EWCA Civ 384

(Court of Appeal; Lloyd and Laws LJJ; 12 April 2007)

The couple were married with children, and lived in the same road. The wife was caring for the five daughters, and the husband was caring for the son. The husband had been convicted of threats to kill the wife, and common assault. He had repeatedly breached court orders made against him. Following an incident in which the husband, having been invited into the property by one of the children to act as a translator, physically and verbally intimidated the wife and threatened to kill her, the judge made a committal order imposing an immediate custodial sentence of 10 months, consisting of 6 months for the instant breach, and activation of a suspended 4 month sentence. The husband continued to deny the breach and showed no remorse.

The sentence was not manifestly excessive, given the cumulative effect of successive incidents and the fact that the wife was entitled to consider herself as under the protection of the suspended committal sentence.

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