General Interest News
Anti-Social Behaviour by Paige Williamson
I am Paige Williamson, a student of the University Academy Holbeach, and I have chosen to do my 2 weeks work experience at Maples Solicitors LLP, at Spalding. I chose this placement to decide whether I wanted to further my education in Law. Maples have given me a good insight on the everyday life in the Law industry.
I have learnt about various aspects of the law and in particular I have considered the law relating to Anti-social behaviour because the government is currently considering changes to this area of law.
Anti-social behaviour is a term for an incident or accident that is affecting how others live their lives. Anti-social behaviour includes things such as bullying, vandalism, intimidation, nuisance of the public – such as neighbours.
New actions can now be made to try and resolve the problems that youths cause amongst the public. If the Police have evidence that someone is acting in an inappropriate manner and causing problems for the community they may ask that person to sign a behaviour contract- also known as an ABC (acceptable behaviour contract). These contracts can be given to anyone despite their age. These contracts are voluntary ones that are hand-written that states a person can no longer be in certain areas or be around certain people. It is not a criminal record so therefore will not be used against them if they was to be prosecuted for any offence and would not be used as evidence against them.
When the person signs this contract they agree to stop the anti-social behaviour and they might also be asked for instance to attend school or college and sometimes even regular counselling sessions.
The contract usually consists of 6months and the person is carefully guarded to ensure that this contract isn’t broken. If the contract was to be broken further action might be taken on the offender. The contract may be extended or a use of an Anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) will be permitted.
ASBO’s are usually given if a person over the age of 10 has committed a number of anti-social offences. This contract stops the offender going into certain areas or being around and spending time with certain people. The ASBO lasts approximately 2years, depending whether all conditions are lived up to and no other offence is committed. If no other offences are committed and there is an improvement on behaviour of the person some conditions may be lifted to allow more freedom of the offender. Should the conditions be broken then the order could be increased and the courts could imply a criminal record to that person for breaking it- this is a criminal offence. They may be arrested for this and their case will be heard in court. If the person is prosecuted their sentence will depend on their age and how serious the offence was.
The Government is now testing and introducing a new order to replace ASBO’s. The new order is named, Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO). It works by any anti-social behaviour being reported directly to the police by a minimum of 5 people, the Police with have a mandatory duty to investigate the reported incidents. This is referred to as the ‘community trigger’. CBO’s will give the police the option of applying to the courts for an order to stop and prevent anymore anti-social behaviour- this is described as ‘low level nuisance’. The CBO, after conviction, would allow the courts to restrict individuals from engaging in certain activities or being present in certain areas or places. If they were in breach of this order they could receive a maximum of 5year imprisonment. These new orders can be applied in a matter of days or even hours- where as ASBO’s are said to take to long to enforce on the offender.
Also proposed to replace the ASBO is an order called Crime Prevention Injunctions, (CPI). It works by the court knowing that the individual has engaged, will engage or engaging into anti-social behaviour to one or more persons. Any evidence would be permitted and the use of witnesses to prove the behaviour is not acceptable. The injunction would include prohibitions on the offenders’ future behaviour and may also include positive requirements to rule out the issues of the reason for the behaviour and any underlying problems the individual may have. There are currently disputes as to whether this order should be enforced in the Magistrates court or whether it should only be applied to an offender in the county courts.
If the offender was in breach of this order, it is not considered a criminal offence but will need to be proved that it was ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. Breach of the injunction would usually be treated as contempt of court. If the CPI is heard in the County Court, it would be proposed that over18’s would be treated as if in contempt of court. However, if the CPI is heard in the Magistrates’ Court, specific sanctions for the breach would be enforced, such as fines and a maximum sentence on 6months. The sanctions would be civil sanctions and with no criminal conviction resulting the breach.
For under18’s, the matter would not be dealt with through contempt of court because they are unable to detain anyone under 18 for contempt and fines are hard to enforce. Therefore alternative sanctions would be required and that would be decided at the county court or the youth court.
Another way of dealing with anti-social behaviour is by enforcing Dispersal notices. Police officers may restrict people from certain areas where there is a high amount of anti-social behaviour being permitted. This means that once it is a dispersal area, police and community officers could ask any group of people to leave the area if they feel like an offence might be committed by them- they can also tell them that they mustn’t return to that area for a period of 24hours. Officers also have the power to ask any under16’s to leave the area after the time 9.00pm. If they refuse to leave they are committing an offence, and may be warned or possibly arrested depending on the refusal manner.
Officers will not bother you if you are just passing through a dispersal area or if they believe that you are highly unlikely to commit any type of offence. This will apply to all members of the public.
Maples Solicitors Recognised!
We are proud to announce that recently the firm has been successful with its application to the Law Society to become a member of the CQS.
The membership of the CQS recognises the high quality standards that our team of Solicitors apply when dealing with your residential property transactions.
Mike Pepper, head of our Residential Conveyancing Department says:-
“This is recognition of the firm’s adherence to high practice management standards and to prudent and efficient conveyancing procedure. Our clients can be rest assured that they will get great service from us when dealing with their house sale and/or purchase.”
If you are buying or selling a property, then please contact Mike Pepper on 01775 722261, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at 23 New Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.
Maples Succeed in Abuse of Process Application
In a Criminal Case involving an allegation of Driving Without Due Care and Attention, we made an application to the Magistrates to stay the prosecution as to allow the case to proceed could bring the administration of justice into disrepute and the Defendant may not have been able to have a fair trial.
The application was upheld by the Magistrates resulting in the case ending against our client who was naturally delighted with the result. It is exceptional for such an application to be successful as the basic principle is that it is for the Prosecution and not the Court to decide if a prosecution should be commenced and once commenced whether it should continue.
The application related as to whether a binding promise had been made as the Defendant had been told earlier in the case that there would be No Further Action taken against him. There was a review of the matter at a later date with the Prosecution indicating that there was further evidence which had not been available at the time. An issue was also raised by ourselves as to whether the Police had failed to investigate the matter in a proper fashion and material had not been recorded or retained when it was reasonable to expect that material should have been recorded and retained and that this may prevent a fair trial from taking place.
Commenting after the case Daven Naghen indicated:
“Its quite exceptional for the Court to intervene to prevent a case proceeding to trial, however this was an unusual case. It is important to remember that the Courts have an overriding duty to promote justice and to prevent injustice. It is pleasing to know that the Client has been spared the stress which comes with having to proceed to trial.
There is a great deal of case law to consider when making an Abuse of Process application and some cases point in favour of the Defence and others in favour of the Prosecution. Detailed written arguments were exchanged in advance of the hearing but were then built upon in oral submission before the Magistrates. It was important to appreciate that each case should be decided on its merits and that often cases can be distinguished from the current situation upon close analysis of the facts.”
Examples of where there may be an argument that there has been an Abuse of Process are where a fair trial is impossible, there has been a significant and unreasonable delay in bringing the proceedings, there has been adverse media publicity or where there has been bad faith or misconduct on behalf of the Police or Prosecution.
Should you have any enquiries about a Criminal or Motoring matter whether court proceedings have commenced or are imminent please do not hesitate to contact Daven Naghen or Anita Toal of our offices.
Maples thanked by Peele School
Maples have been thanked by the Peele Community College for the time that Daven Naghen gave in attending the school to assist the pupils to prepare for the Mock Trials competition.
Mr Naghen assisted the pupils in understanding the Court process and preparing for the Mock’s Trials event when the Peele Community College won through the local finals in Grantham and have progressed to the next stage, this being the finals in Birmingham to take place late in June 2010.
Maples is proud to continue it’s history of working within the community and it is intended that Mr Naghen, a criminal advocate within our firm, will again attend at the school for further coaching with the pupils, prior to the next set of finals.
Finally, our congratulations go out to the pupils who reaped the success from their hard work.
Helping achieve the best results in troubled times
Sometimes things go wrong in life. For example you fall out with your wife/partner, a customer fails to pay your bill or you get into trouble with the Police. These can be very stressful occurrences in your life, and sometimes you may be reluctant to seek help, and may be even embarrassed to do so.
Here at Maples we have a team of qualified and experienced lawyers who can help you with such problems and many others, helping you to achieve the best result in troubled times whether it involves a reasonable financial settlement following divorce, enforcement action in respect of an outstanding debt or representation at Court or the Police Station. We will help you by acting in your best interests, and in a caring and sensitive way so that you feel you have got someone on your side.
At the same time we can help you with more “positive” events in your life, like buying a house, planning your financial affairs or buying a business. Our team of lawyers are here to guide you through the processes and work on your behalf.
If you want help and guidance on any legal matter, no matter how big or small, then please either telephone us on 01775 722261 or email email@example.com.
Maples Victorious in Customer Care Award!
Maples Solicitors were today crowned winners of the 2013 Customer Care Award at the South Holland Business Awards.
Maples beat off competition from a host of other local Companies to scoop the accolade.
Maples would like to thank everyone who voted for us and we will strive to continue our good work and look to retain the Award next year!
Anita Toal, Grant Shackleston and Gemma Turton were all present to receive the Award on Maples behalf.