Case Number: MB22F00102
In the Family Court at Middlesbrough
21 June 2022
Mrs Justice Judd
Before Mrs Justice Judd sitting at the Family Court at Middlesbrough, Teesside Combined Court, Centre Square, Middlesbrough, TS1 2AE
ORDER FOR COMMITTAL MADE BY MRS JUSTICE JUDD ON 21ST JUNE SITTING IN OPEN COURT
1. AN APPLICATION was made of the court’s own motion for the respondent’s committal for contempt in the face of the court;
2. The respondent did not attend the hearing on 12th May, but the court was satisfied that he had notice of the hearing date, that he had had sufficient time to prepare, and that no reason had been advanced by him for his failure to attend.
3. On 12th May the judge read the following evidence (i) the applicant’s witness statement dated the 21st of February 2022 together with the screenshot of the respondent’s Facebook page;
(ii) the applicant’s solicitor’s statement dated the 21st of February 2022;
(iii) the statement of District Judge Robinson dated the 18th of February 2022.;
(iv) the recording and transcript of the court hearing on 16th February 2022
4. The court also heard brief oral evidence from the applicant and the applicant’s solicitor Miss Coultas in which they confirmed their written evidence.
5. The court was satisfied that the following matters were proved against the respondent to the criminal standard (namely that it was sure) that :-
(i) having joined the telephone hearing on 16th of February 2022 the respondent falsely informed the District Judge and/or led him to believe that he was the applicant Miss Eggleston;
(ii) having confirmed to the District Judge at the telephone hearing that he was Miss Eggleston failed subsequently to inform the District Judge that he was not Miss Eggleston at any point during the remainder of the telephone hearing;
(iii) failed at any point during the telephone hearing to inform the District Judge (a) of his true identity and/or (b) that he was the person against whom the order was being sought;
(iv) misled the court as to his identity and pretended to be Miss Eggleston and continued to do so when he knew he was attending a court telephone hearing;
(v) by pretending to be Miss Eggleston attended the telephone hearing until its conclusion when the application had been made without notice to him and the District Judge was proceeding on the basis that he was not in attendance at the telephone hearing. and that as a consequence the respondent, Alex Westwood committed a contempt in the face of the court on that date;
6. The proceedings were adjourned for the issue of penalty to be considered.
7. On 21st June, the court heard submissions from the Respondent, Alec Westwood.
(1) that for his contempt Alec Westwood shall stand committed to prison for a period of 21 days.
(2) that the warrant of committal remain in the court office at the Teesside District Registry and that execution of it be suspended so long as the respondent Alec Westwood complies with the non-molestation order made by District Judge Robinson on 18th February 2022 and confirmed on 1st March 2022. After 16th February 2023 the sentence and warrant of committal shall be discharged.