If you have been served a Stalking Protection Order, we strongly recommend obtaining expert legal advice and assistance urgently.
If made by the court, these orders can have an extreme impact on your daily life, freedom, and right to privacy.
This blog will look at how Stalking Protection Orders can be granted and what action can be taken to defend those wrongly served.
How Can Stalking Protection Orders Be Served?
The police may apply for a Stalking Protection Order (SPO) if a “victim” has reported stalking behaviour or it has come to police attention during a separate investigation or by other means such as a third party or referral.
The police can also apply for an SPO at any point during an investigation, up to and including the point of conviction or acquittal.
It’s important to note that SPOs are not alternatives to prosecution and can be used to complement - or be applied for in addition to - prosecution. They can also be used standalone without a prosecution.
When applying for an SPO, the police should consider reasonableness, taking into account the circumstances of the matter and the background of the behaviour.
They should ensure the victim finds the behaviour reasonably unwelcome and that the respondent ought to have known that the behaviour can reasonably be regarded as posing a risk to the victim.
Risk may arise from acts the respondent knows or ought to have reasonably known to be unwelcome by the other person.
Does The Court Have To Make A Stalking Protection Order?
No, the court does not have to make the order. It will need to consider several factors when considering whether an order should be granted.
The court can make an interim SPO if “it considers it appropriate to do so”. But to make a full SPO, the court must be satisfied that an order is “necessary to protect another person” from stalking.
When considering a full application for a SPO, the court will apply the criminal standard of proof “beyond all reasonable doubt” to the fact-finding elements of the application regarding the respondent’s behaviour and the risk posed. But for an interim order, the court will not apply the criminal standard. Instead, it will conduct a lower test using its judgement or evaluation.
The court will need to consider what the respondent says about their alleged behaviour.
We can help to expertly prepare your defence to the police application for an SPO by drafting any required statement in response. We will gather evidence that will support your defence and help prove that you were not exhibiting stalking behaviour and that the “victim” could not reasonably have found your behaviour or contact to have been unwelcome.
Our team will also represent you at any hearing where the application will be heard.
In other words, we will be able to fight your corner and ensure that your best defence to the application is advanced.
What Happens If I Breach A Stalking Protection Order?
The test for breach of an SPO is “whether the party breached the order without reasonable excuse”.
Further breach of the order is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
It is also an offence for the respondent to the order to fail to notify police of their name and home address within three days of the making of the order or to notify the police of any change of name or home address within three days of that change.
In summary, applications for Stalking Protection Orders or proceedings relating to breaches of Stalking Protection Orders are to be taken seriously. Our expert team of false allegation specialists are here to help you defend any application by the police for an SPO.
Please get in touch with our Client Services Team, who will be able to offer you an appointment with one of our dedicated experts.
Find out how they can help anyone falsely accused of stalking.