The Borough Council of Gateshead -v- Lambert

County CourtSentencing Remarks

Claim Number: L00GH065

In the County Court at Gateshead

21 June 2024

Sentencing remarks of District Judge Simpson

The Borough Council of Gateshead
Tracy Lambert

Sentencing Remarks

Before District Judge Simpson sitting at the County Court at Newcastle Upon Tyne at Newcastle Crown & Magistrates Court, The Law Courts, The Quayside, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 3LA on 21st of June 2024
This is a case where an Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction (ASBI) was granted on an ex-parte basis to Gateshead Council on 7th March 2024 to prevent amongst other things the Defendant from contacting a protected party and being present in certain areas.

The order was personally served upon the Defendant on 8th March 2024 and a return hearing was listed on 19th March 2024. The Defendant did not attend that hearing and the final order was made and personally served upon the Defendant on 25th March 2024.

The court has on record a breach on 1st May 2024, there is no evidence of any plea, and this wasn’t pursued by the Local Authority due to the matter being beyond the 28-day timescale when it was brought back to Court. At two separate hearings in respect of that breach two different Judges reiterated the terms of the ASBI to the Defendant and it is recorded that she understood.

On 6th June 2024 there was a breach of paragraph 3 (d) of the ASBI by being in a prohibited area which was admitted at the earliest opportunity by the Defendant.

On 20th June 2024 there were two further breaches of the ASBI, namely paragraph 2 (a) being in contact with a protected party and paragraph 3 (d) being in a prohibited area. The Defendant has again pleaded guilty to these breaches at the earliest opportunity which will be taken into account when passing sentence today.

The Defendant has put forward that she is in a relationship with the protected party and finds it hard to be apart from him. Therefore, it seems to me that the culpability is High because there is a persistent breach with a significant degree of premeditation to it. Although the Defendant asserts her intentions are honourable, the fact remains that she has deliberately breached the ASBI. The Defendant acknowledged that following the 6th June 2024 breach she was reminded again of the terms of the ASBI and placed on bail with a requirement to comply with the terms of the ASBI, in my view this is a further aggravating feature of the two most recent breaches as they were committed whilst on bail.

The Local Authority have put forward that whilst the Culpability is high, the level of harm falls into the category 3 which is the lowest level. The starting point for sentence is one month imprisonment and the category range is adjourned consideration to 3 months imprisonment. In this matter because the breaches are deliberate and persistent, and given the submissions made by the Defendant show no sign of complying, in my view the custody threshold has been surpassed.

In respect of the harm the local authority concede that there is no one who has been harmed or caused distress, and there is simply the mere presence in a prohibited area and in the presence of a protected party.

The local authority suggest that an appropriate sentence in this case would be 4 weeks to 3 months imprisonment, however, I do not feel that 3 months is appropriate in this case. The Defendant has served one night on remand and is therefore on a custodial sentence is entitled to a two-day reduction. I do not propose to sentence each breach separately and therefore stepping back and looking at the totality of the breaches and the relevant circumstances, the sentence which I deem appropriate is 28 days imprisonment but to take into account the two days credit for the period already served on remand the sentence is 26 days imprisonment.