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28 AUG 2007

CONTEMPT: Re JC (Committal Proceedings)

(Court of Appeal; Keene, Thomas and Wall LJJ; 15 August 2007)

The district judge had attached a power of arrest to the non-molestation and occupation order obtained by the mother against the father, finding that the father had used or threatened violence to the mother. At the committal proceedings for alleged breaches of the order the circuit judge, directing himself on the criminal standard of proof, found that the mother's fear of the father was based on 'some violence' on the father's part, taking into account the findings of the district judge. Only two of the alleged breaches were established, an allegation that the father had come within 100 metres of the mother's home and verbally abused her on an unspecified date, and an allegation that the father had threatened to kill the mother. The father was sentenced to 28 days in custody, suspended for 12 months.

The committal judge had been entitled to reach the conclusion he had reached, and to bear in mind the fact that the district judge had made an injunction with power of arrest on the basis of the use or threat of violence. The fact that the committal findings might be used in the on-going care proceedings was neither here nor there.

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