Committal for Contempt of Court: Anchor Hanover Group -v- Reeder

County CourtCommittal for Contempt of Court

Case No.  K02LS044

In the County Court of Leeds

9 January 2024


His Honour Judge Gosnell


Anchor Hanover Group

– v –

Shaun Craig Reeder



  1. Shaun Reeder, it is my duty to pass a punishment for the three admitted breaches of the court order.
  2. There is some context here, which is important.  The court order was originally granted on 26 October 2023 by District Judge Hill.  It was put in place in order to protect your mother, Marion Reeder, who lives at Hampton Court.
  3. The history was, according to the evidence that I have seen, that because of your addiction to non-prescribed drugs, you had visited your mother on a number of occasions and effectively stolen from her and it was thought by the landlord that it was appropriate to seek protection, not only for your mother but also other residents of this property who you pestered for money.
  4. Therefore, that was the context in which the order was granted.  There were three occasions when you breached the order.  On 8 November 2023, when you were found in a bin store.  The significance of this is that you were actually only served with the order at 16:27 on 8 November and you were found in the property at 18:50 that day.  Therefore, within two hours of being served with the order you were found where you should not be.
  5. The next breach occurs on 21 December 2023, when you were found in your mother’s flat, and you were brought before me on 22 December 2023 when I made it clear to you that it was important that you stay away from the flat.
  6. Unfortunately, you then returned again on 29 December 2023 and that persuaded me to remand you in custody on 30 December 2023.
  7. I accept the mitigation put forward on your behalf that you attended, at least on 29 December, at the invitation of your mother, who contacted you through a friend because she had not seen you over the Christmas period and wanted to see you. 
  8. I explained to you when I spoke to you on 30 December that whilst I could understand why you might want to respond to your mother’s invitation, that was still a breach of the order because I had ordered you not to go to the property and that is why I decided to remand you in custody.
  9. As both counsel for the claimant and indeed the solicitor for the defendant has pointed out the sentencing exercise is now a structured method as set out in the case of Lovett v Wigan District Council [2022] EWCA Civ 1631.  This is based upon the guidance and penalties for contempt in the Civil Justice Council paper. 
  10. I recognise the fact that custody must only  be reserved for punishment for the more serious breaches.  The maximum term is two years.  It is appropriate that you spend only the least period in custody, which corresponds with the seriousness of your breaches.
  11. The first step is to consider the seriousness of the breaches and that is done by comparing culpability and harm.
  12. There are three categories, both of culpability and harm.  In terms of culpability, in my view the breaches fall into the second category of culpability which is category B because there is some premeditation in that on each occasion you have chosen to go to the property in which your mother lives knowing that there was an injunction order saying that you should not.  Therefore, this is not an accidental breach, this is a premeditated breach.  Certainly, on the last occasion it was clearly premeditated because you were responding to your mother’s invitation.
  13. In terms of harm, I accept that this is a category three case, they are all category three cases because it would appear that no person has been actually inconvenienced.  There is no complaint from your mother about your visits, indeed, it would appear that she either tolerated them or invited them and I take that into account in saying that this is a category three case.  If that is the case that the starting point for one breach would be adjourned consideration with a category range being adjourned consideration to one month in custody.
  14. In terms of aggravating features, the aggravating features are that you have breached the order on three occasions.  On the first occasion on the same date you were served with it and certainly on the last occasion within just over a week from a Judge giving you a clear warning not to breach the order.  Those are the aggravating factors.
  15. The mitigating factors are that you are unwell as a consequence of your drug addiction.  That there may well be good reasons why you want to see your mother and that indeed on the last occasion she invited you to do so.  The strongest piece of mitigation is that you have admitted each breach on the earliest possible occasion and that is something that I need to give specific credit for.
  16. In terms of what the appropriate sentence should be, I take the view that particularly bearing in mind that there is no evidence of any specific harm.  The appropriate penalty for all three breaches combined would be a period of six weeks in custody, which is 42 days.  I would immediately discount that by a period of a third discount to represent the guilty pleas.  That would then bring the sentence down to 28 days.  You are entitled to credit for the time spent in custody, and I have explained to your solicitor that bearing in mind the one day spent in custody on 21st and the 11 days subsequently, that is a period of 12 days spent in custody.
  17. For reasons which are somewhat technical, but which I am sure Mr Gallagher agrees with, you are entitled to double that credit because you are entitled to a 50% discount in respect of time spent in custody.
  18. By my calculation, that leaves a period of four days for you to spend in custody.  Mr Gallagher invites me to effectively grant you as what is colloquially known as a walk-out today.  I decline to do that because I think you can spend the next four days considering how you have got into the situation you have got into.  If I impose that sentence today, then you will be released by the weekend and at that point in time, you can start to perhaps to make plans for a life which involves complying with the court order rather than not complying with it.
  19. I take into account totality.  I think that the figures that I have used are proportionate.  I also take into account whether a suspended sentence would be appropriate.  I think that would be unfair to you because effectively, I might be storing up a problem in the future for you where you are better off leaving custody with a clean slate.
  20. In addition, I have now explained in full how this works.  Therefore, your sentence today is a period of a further four days in custody.  You will serve one half of that sentence in custody and the remaining half will be discounted.  Therefore, my order today is for a sentence of four days’ imprisonment, of which you will serve two of them from today effectively in custody.