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Protection from Harassment Act 1997

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[F14AStalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distressE+W

(1)A person (“A”) whose course of conduct—

(a)amounts to stalking, and

(b)either—

(i)causes another (“B”) to fear, on at least two occasions, that violence will be used against B, or

(ii)causes B serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on B's usual day-to-day activities,

is guilty of an offence if A knows or ought to know that A's course of conduct will cause B so to fear on each of those occasions or (as the case may be) will cause such alarm or distress.

(2)For the purposes of this section A ought to know that A's course of conduct will cause B to fear that violence will be used against B on any occasion if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct would cause B so to fear on that occasion.

(3)For the purposes of this section A ought to know that A's course of conduct will cause B serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on B's usual day-to-day activities if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct would cause B such alarm or distress.

(4)It is a defence for A to show that—

(a)A's course of conduct was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime,

(b)A's course of conduct was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment, or

(c)the pursuit of A's course of conduct was reasonable for the protection of A or another or for the protection of A's or another's property.

(5)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding [F2ten years], or a fine, or both, or

(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months, or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both.

(6)In relation to an offence committed before the commencement of section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the reference in subsection (5)(b) to twelve months is to be read as a reference to six months.

(7)If on the trial on indictment of a person charged with an offence under this section the jury find the person not guilty of the offence charged, they may find the person guilty of an offence under section 2 or 2A.

(8)The Crown Court has the same powers and duties in relation to a person who is by virtue of subsection (7) convicted before it of an offence under section 2 or 2A as a magistrates' court would have on convicting the person of the offence.

(9)This section is without prejudice to the generality of section 4.]

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Amendments (Textual)

F2Words in s. 4A(5)(a) substituted (31.1.2017 for specified purposes, 3.4.2017 in so far as not already in force) by Policing and Crime Act 2017 (c. 3), ss. 175(1)(b), 183(1)(5)(e) (with s. 175(3)); S.I. 2017/399, reg. 2, Sch. para. 35

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