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Protection from Stalking Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Sections 1 to 5 - Offences

Section 2 - Offence of threatening or abusive behaviour

Subsection (1) creates the offence of threatening or abusive behaviour where a person (A) behaves in a threatening or abusive manner and the behaviour would be likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear and alarm; and (A) intends by the behaviour to cause fear and alarm or is reckless as to whether the behaviour causes fear or alarm.

Subsection (2) provides a defence for a person charged with the offence to show that the behaviour was reasonable in the particular circumstances.

Subsection (3) describes behaviour being of any kind including, in particular, things said or otherwise communicated as well as things done.  Behaviour can consist of a single act or occasion or a course of conduct (two or more occasions).

Subsection (4) provides the penalty for the offence of threatening or abusive behaviour.  The maximum penalty on summary conviction (heard in a magistrates’ court) is 12 months imprisonment or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (£5,000) or both.  The maximum penalty on conviction on indictment (heard in a crown court) is 5 years imprisonment or a fine, or both.

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