The offence of stalking, whilst long been campaigned for, has only come into force this past week under the Criminal Justice Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023. This new offence covers any conduct that causes another to fear that violence will be used against them or cause another, serious alarm or distress that has a substantial adverse impact on their usual day to day activities. It carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years.
Of particular note, the new offence need not be persistent or continuous like that of harassment. Stalking is capable of being committed by a single act. It also includes situations where the person becomes aware of the stalking acts after the fact. These stalking acts include following, watching, monitoring, tracking, spying, impersonating a person, communicating with or about a person, loitering in the vicinity of a person to name but a few.
The Miscellaneous Provisions Act further introduced new offences of non-fatal strangulation and non-fatal suffocation as well as a standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation or non-fatal suffocation causing serious harm which carry with them significant and hefty sentences.
It is likely that we will see the new offences of stalking as well as non fatal strangulation and non fatal suffocation being prosecuted particularly in domestic abuse situations.
If you find yourself in need the advice of a criminal solicitor in this particular area, you should contact our office immediately. Here at Michael J Staines & Company, we are acutely aware of the sensitive nature of these types of proceedings and our specialised solicitors are here to offer the best advice and fully confidential and expert assistance
7 November 2023