Committal for Contempt of Court: Ogden

County CourtCommittal for Contempt of Court

Claim No: F00SK339

Stockport County Court

Date: 18/03/2022

Deputy District Judge Nabou

Stockport MBC
Lee Ogden

Enclosed is a copy of the judgment for publication

Pursuant to paragraph 13 of the Practice Direction for Contempt of Court in open Court this is the Judgment of DDJ Nabou sitting at Stockport County Court on 18 March 2022 in the above matter.

(i) This matter concerns Lee Ogden, the respondent. The Applicant is Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council;

(ii) This is a long standing matter arising from an Injunction (originally granted on 3 August 2020 subsequently varied and extended, the last injunction being 24 August 2021) preventing Mr Lee Odgen from harming his father/attempting to harm/ threatening his father and attending his father’s property.  The long history to the case, including previous committal hearings will not be set out,  save as to mention that Mr Ogden has previously served a custodial sentence for breach of the order and the last (and current) sentence is as follows;-

By order of DDJ Thexton 24 January 2022 Mr Ogden was sentenced to 60 days imprisonment for the admitted breach of the injunction 24 August 2021, that sentence was suspended until 24 August 2022 subject to compliance with the injunction.

The injunction was subsequently not complied with. There was a further committal hearing before myself on 11 February 2022 but that was adjourned generally (at the request of both parties) noting that Mr Ogden did not admit the said breaches and noting that his father was not willing to testify. However, the underlying suspended sentence still remains in force until 24 August 2022.

On 25 February 2022 Mr Ogden further breached the injunction and admitted that he had thrown an item (a bank card) at his father and had been at his father’s address, therefore breaching paragraphs 5 and 6 of the said injunction. He was remanded into custody and I ordered his release on 4 March 2022. As Mr Ogden told me he had stopped drinking and was actively engaging with the Stockport MBC and wanted to find his own property I was persuaded to adjourn in order to sentence 2 weeks later (today’s hearing).  The underlying injunction continued and Mr Ogden told me that he understood that.

There was a further breach of the injunction when Mr Ogden attended his father’s home again on 14 March 2022.

The hearing today is to determine the sentences for the committal arising from the admitted breaches on 25 February 2022 for throwing the bank card at his dad when being in his property and for re-attending his dad’s property again on 14 March 2022.

(iii)  I have heard submissions on the sentencing guidelines specifically whether this is culpability A,B or C and whether it falls into category 1, 2 or 3. The applicant feels strongly that given the ongoing persistent breaches that this is a Culpability A case of “very serious or persistent breach”. The respondent’s solicitor accepts that history is not helpful to the Respondent but would suggest that  Culpability B applies for deliberate breach falling between A and C.  I believe that Culpability A applies and category A2 for throwing the item at his dad (fortunately a bank card, no  physical harm done) and A3 for attending the property on the two occasions.

I am mindful that aggravating factors relate to the persistent breach of orders and wilful disobedience although i am also alive to the fact these appear to occur when Mr Ogden is drunk and he has a significant longstanding problem with alcohol. He has attempted rehabilitation but failed. He tells me that he started medication before his last prison time and was willing to comply but could not have the medication in prison. I am concerned that sending him to prison, whilst it will punish for the breach, it will not ensure compliance with the orders and will not rehabilitate Mr Ogden noting that he said he cannot access the medication (like before). He has already had 12 days in custody which I believe should be accounted for in the sentence.

I am mindful that Mr Ogden has admitted the said breaches at the first available opportunity.  Whilst his actions have no doubt caused distress, they have, fortunately, not caused any physical harm.

I sentence for each breach as follows;-

A2 throwing bank card at father -3 months

A3 being at father’s property on   25 February and 14 March  – 1.5 months  for each breach so 3 months in total

182 days total to be suspended. discounted for the 12 days in prison to date = 170 days in total.

The above to run consecutively to the 60 days suspended order (effective until August 2022).

The above judgment is to be published via, for publication on the website of the Judiciary of England and Wales.