Committal for Contempt of Court in open court in Birmingham: Boulton

County CourtCommittal for Contempt of Court

Case No: H01BM030

In the County Court at Birmingham

6 December 2021


His Honour Judge Murch


Birmingham City Council


Clare Boulton



  1. This is a committal application brought by Birmingham City Council against Miss Claire Boulton following the making of an antisocial behaviour injunction on 9th July 2021. The relevant terms of the injunction provided as follows, that the Defendant, whether by herself or by instructing, encouraging or allowing any other person, shall not (1) verbally abuse, harass, intimidate, use or threaten violence against Miss Louise Gal of 137 The Hurstway, Perry Common, Birmingham B23 5XG; (2) attend or visit 137 The Hurstway, Perry Common, Birmingham, B23 5XG and (5) cause nuisance and annoyance on The Hurstway or within 137 The Hurstway or 89 The Hurstway, Birmingham, including but not limited to screaming, shouting and banging.  Paragraphs 3 and 4 are not relied upon by the Claimant this morning and therefore I do not refer to them for the purposes of this judgment.
  2. A power of arrest was attached and it is common ground that the order was served on the Respondent on 15th July 2021.
  3. The grounds of the application are sixfold. The first and sixth grounds were not proceeded with before me this morning because the person who gives evidence as to the breaches, namely Miss Tia Tomlinson, is not at court today.  I have, however, heard from Mrs. Sarah Tomlinson, who has given evidence in support of allegations 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  4. Those allegations read as follows. Allegation 2, at 21.15 on 22nd July 2021, you shouted loudly with another individual whilst at 137 The Hurstway for approximately five minutes before you left on a pushbike.  It is alleged that amounts to a breach of Clauses 1, 2 and 5 of the injunction.  The third allegation of breach is that at around 22.00 on 22nd July 2021, you returned to 137 The Hurstway, which you attempted to enter.  You shouted loudly to be let in and banged on the door.  This incident lasted for approximately ten minutes.  Again, that is a breach of provisions 1, 2 and 5 of the injunction.  The fourth allegation of breach is at around 22.10 on 22nd July 2021, you started to smash empty bottles in the garden of 137 The Hurstway, again said to be a breach of paragraphs 1, 2 and 5 of the injunction and, finally, it is alleged that at around 00.10 on 23rd July, you attended at 137 The Hurstway and shouted.  That is said to be a breach of paragraphs 1, 2 and 5 of the injunction.
  5. The Claimant brings the claim. The Claimant must therefore show such that I can be satisfied so that I am sure that these allegations are made out.  The Defendant has not attended court today but the witness for the Claimant has been cross-examined by Mr. Ricketts, who is instructed on her behalf.
  6. I say at the outset that I found Mrs. Tomlinson to be both a reliable and credible witness. She gave her evidence confidently and assuredly to all the questions she was asked.  She explained to me that her address backs onto the back garden of the house at 137 The Hurstway owned by Miss Louise Gal, who is the partner of the Respondent to this injunction.  Importantly, the houses are sufficiently close together so that from the rear of her property, she can see into the sitting room of Miss Gal.  That is important for her ability to see people in the property.  She also explained that there is a right of way which goes alongside her rear garden to reach the garden of Miss Gal.  That is also relevant for the purposes of this injunction.  She explained to me that she has known both Miss Gal and Miss Boulton for about six months prior to this incident and, for those reasons, she said she was able to identify the two of them because she has heard them each shouting one another’s names during the course of arguments in the past.
  7. Turning then to the second allegation of breach, the first having been abandoned, having heard the evidence of Mrs. Tomlinson, I am satisfied so that I am sure that at 21.15, the Respondent shouted loudly with Miss Gal for approximately five minutes. I am satisfied that Mrs. Tomlinson was able to identify Miss Boulton and her evidence on this point is reliable.  I am satisfied that she saw Miss Boulton leave on her pushbike along the alleyway to which I have already referred.  I am satisfied that the Respondent returned at 22.00, returned to 137, which she then attempted to enter, and that she banged loudly to be let in.  Again, that lasted for about ten minutes.  As she explained during her evidence, she was shouting to be let in.  Louise, that is to say Miss Gal, was just looking out of the window at the property, in response to which the Respondent kept banging.  That deals with the third allegation which is therefore proved to the necessary standard.   Mrs Tomlinson continued: Louise shouted at her to leave and that made Miss Boulton become more aggressive and she started smashing empty bottles in the garden and then she came to the right of way and smashed bottles there as well.  I am therefore satisfied that the fourth allegation is also made out.  I am satisfied so that I am sure.  That is the fourth allegation.
  8. At about ten to midnight, the police called to see whether matters had died down. Some 20 minutes later, the Respondent returned to the area.  Again, I am satisfied so that I am sure that that is the case because I have heard from Mrs. Tomlinson, who said that her daughter, who was sleeping in the rear of the property with the window open, it being July, heard the Respondent.  Tomlinson then went into her daughter’s bedroom and could see from her daughter’s bedroom that Claire, that is to say Miss Boulton, was inside the property of Miss Gal and, again, that is because noise had been made, allowing her presence to be heard.  I am satisfied therefore that allegation 5 is made out.
  9. Each of these allegations is proved on the relevant standard and amounts to a breach of Clauses 1, 2 and 5 of the injunction dated 9th July 2021. I pause to note that during the course of her cross-examination, although the evidence of Mrs. Tomlinson was this has been a matter going on for some time prior to 22nd and 23rd July of this year, that certainly since then there has not been a repeat of the noise or disturbance but, as I say, I am satisfied so that I am sure that each of the allegations upon which the Claimant relies today has been made out and proved to the necessary standard.