Harassment occurs when someone behaves in a manner which results in one or more persons feeling threatened or humiliated and which leads to distress.

The offence can be committed in a number of ways including personal visits, phone calls, letters and emails whether from someone known to the victim or a stranger.

Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors outlines the law governing the offence.

If you are under investigation for alleged harassment, have been served with a Harassment Notice or fear that an allegation may be made against you then you should seek expert legal advice.

Kangs Solicitors is recognised as one of the leading criminal defence firms in the country and is top ranked in both the leading legal directories, Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500.

We appreciate the strain and worry affecting clients alleged to have committed criminal offences of any nature, including those involving harassment, and we are here to guide and assist.         

Our team can be contacted for initial advice as follows:  

The Applicable Law | Kangs Offences Against the Person Defence Solicitors

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (‘the Act’) provides that:     

1 Prohibition of harassment

A person must not pursue a course of conduct:                       

  • which amounts to harassment of another and
  • which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.

(1A) A person must not pursue a course of conduct:

  • which involves harassment of two or more persons, and
  • which he knows or ought to know involves harassment of those persons, and
  • by which he intends to persuade any person
  • not to do something that he is entitled or required to do, or
  • to do something that he is not under any obligation to do.

(2) For the purpose of this section, the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other.

7. Interpretation

(3) A course of conduct must involve

(a) in the case of conduct in relation to a single person conduct on at least two occasions to that person, or

(b) in the case of conduct in relation to two or more persons conduct on at least one occasion in relation to each of those two persons.

Potential Defences | Kangs Serious Crime Solicitors

The Act provides that Section 1 subsection (1) does not apply to a course of conduct if the person who pursues it shows:   

  • that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime
  • that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment
  • that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of action was reasonable.

The test as to whether a course of conduct amounts to harassment is an objective one:

In the case of R v Colohan (2001) it was stated that:

  • the jury has to answer the question whether the defendant ought to have known that what he was doing amounts to harassment by the objective test of what a reasonable person would think. 
  • a course of conduct which is unattractive and unreasonable does not of itself necessarily constitute the criminal offence. It must be unacceptable and oppressive conduct such that it should sustain criminal liability.

In the case of Majrowski v Guy & St Thomas’s NHS Trust (2006), it was stated:

  • where the conduct said to constitute harassment is being examined, courts will have in mind the irritations, annoyances, even a measure of upset, arising at times in everybody’s day to day dealings with other people. 
  • courts are well able to recognise the boundary between conduct, which is unattractive, even unreasonable, and conduct which is oppressive and unacceptable. 
  • to cross the boundary from the regrettable to the unacceptable, the gravity of the misconduct must be of an order which would sustain criminal liability.      

How Can We Help? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors   

There is a great deal of contact between parties that has the potential to lead to harassment such as contact necessary for meeting childcare needs or arranging the sale of the former matrimonial home.

This is a very complex area of law involving the Crown having to prove inter alia, a course of conduct, alarm and distress to the victim and that a reasonable person would think that the conduct did amount to harassment.

The team at Kangs Solicitors is experienced in assisting clients facing allegations of harassment of every nature and is available to assist by way of 24/7 emergency numbers in respect of any situation where you may need immediate help including being accompanied if you are required to attend a Police Station.

We welcome enquiries by telephone or email.

We can provide initial consultation at our offices in London, Birmingham or Manchester.

Alternatively, we provide initial consultation by telephone or video conferencing.

Helen Holder
0121 449 9888 | 0161 817 5020

Suki Randhawa
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396

Amandeep Murria
0161 817 5020 | 0121 449 9888