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Using Car To Intimidate And Harass

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Ringlet | 01:43 Sun 06th Sep 2020 | Law
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i have had an ongoing problem with a nasty neighbour for some time. This person has waged a two year campaign of harassment against me and another neighbour. She has had a formal warning from police but still finds ways to vent her spite.

This evening her son was driving past where i was standing on the pavement. He swerved, mounted the pavement and drove straight at me. At first I couldn't believe it was happening and just stared at the car coming toward me, but gathered myself to step out of the way in time. I was left very shaken and now find I can't sleep.

The incident was caught on a neighbour's CCTV and police have been informed. They have made an appointment to visit tomorrow. What action are they likely to take about this incident?

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Without seeing the CCTV coverage and/or being privy to the discussions between the police and the CPS, a lot of guesswork is needed from anyone posting here.

However it's likely that the CPS would first want to see if they could get a prosecution for any type of assault offence to stick. It's unlikely that they'd find that there's sufficient evidence to prove 'attempted murder' and their own website makes it clear that there's no such offence as 'attempted ABH', so they might consider the possibility of a charge of 'attempted GBH'. However I suspect that the evidence wouldn't meet the threshold for such a charge.

They might well then consider a charge under Section 4, Section 4A or Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 ( https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1986/64 ), with the use of either Section 4 or Section 4A probably being more likely than Section 5. Such an offence can lead to up to 6 months imprisonment but I doubt that such a penalty would be imposed for the offence you've told us about.

In practice the CPS might prefer to concentrate on the one charge that they would find easiest to secure a conviction for. i.e. one of 'dangerous driving'. A conviction for such an offence can also lead to imprisonment for up to 6 months but, once again, I think that it's unlikely to happen in the circumstances you've described to us.

The CPS website states "If the driving that caused the danger was taken as a deliberate decision, this would be an aggravating feature of the offence". Given that ANY conviction for dangerous driving AUTOMATICALLY results in a MINIMUM driving ban of 12 months (unless there are extremely exceptional circumstances), a longer ban (of perhaps 18 months?) might be imposed by the court upon your neighbour's son.

As I wrote at the start, a lot of guesswork is involved here but I further note the following from the CPS website (which makes public the advice given to its own staff):
"When a vehicle is deliberately used as a weapon to cause injury, prosecutors should normally prosecute for the offence of dangerous driving, or a specific assault under other provisions in the OAPA [Offences Against the Person Act] 1861, subject to there being sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, for one of those offences".

So my best guess is that your neighbour's son will end up with a driving ban, possibly of around 18 months, for dangerous driving. He'll also be required to take an extended re-test before he can regain his licence. He'll probably also be fined, ordered to pay a victim surcharge and required to pay costs.

https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/road-traffic-charging
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Buenchico Thank you for your detailed and easy to understand answer. The whole episode left me and my friend who was with me very shaken. We just didn't know what to expect from police, and your answer has been very helpful.
Thanks for your reply, Ringlet.

When I wrote, above, that there's no such charge as 'attempted ABH', I should have said 'attempted GBH without intent'. Any attempted GBH charge would have to be 'with intent'. However it's largely irrelevant anyway, as I can't see that there would be sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction. (I think my brain must have been rather addled at half past two this morning). Otherwise everything else in my post stands.
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Thanks again. The police (PSNI) didn't bother to turn up today. They might trouble themselves tomorrow.
Can you not go for an injunction so he can't go within X near you?
Ringlet// The police (PSNI) didn't bother to turn up today//

That doesn’t surprise me in the least. When I started reading this thread I knew that would be the result so far. Don’t hold your breath on this one. If they do turn up in the next few days they’ll make a few noises and possibly take a few notes and that’ll be it.

I hope I’m wrong.
Why are some police not fit for purpose? Why do we the general public tolerate such incompetence? What can we do?
Agree with Ummmm - it's not as if you have no evidence.
If the police do nothing I'm sure your local paper would like the footage (assuming they have an online version/page)
Question Author
Ummm I have an injunction against his mother, but he lives at a different address and a separate injunction would be needed for him. However, part of the conditions of his mother's injunction is that she cannot harass or attempt to intimidate via a third party, so this might be relevant to him. It's a constant battle. Mother and son are two of a kind. Mental health issues are involved which makes things very complicated and unpredictable. The harassment is cyclical, it settles for a month or two, then starts up again. The mother is spiteful and nasty and does nasty unpleasant things like vandalising gardens but the son is aggressive and much more dangerous, IMO. Local police are a dead loss. Useless to the point of criminal neglect of their duty.
Sounds awful.

I would keep contacting the police and keep a note of dates/times etc...and then complain.
Have you tried contacting the Police Commissioner for your area?
Question Author
bhg haven't contacted the "higher-ups" yet. PSNI officers have so far always been constables from the local station, with the exception of the "harassment officer" from Belfast who served the formal harassment warning on the mother. Yesterday mother and son drove up and down the cul de sac in front of my house all day. I was too nervous to go outside, didn't even take my dog for a walk, as walking on the footpath would leave me very vulnerable to any passing crackpot driver who decided to swing the wheel. I'm going to ring a few numbers today and see if I can get anyone in the PSNI to pay attention. Time consuming, annoying and the frustration of it keeps me awake at night seething with fury. Thanks for your replies. It helps to sound off about it. It's been nearly two years now.
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I think you need CCTV yourself dont you?
If you have an injunction
then you are half way down this well trodden route already arent you?
Question Author
Peter Pedant, yes, I do have CCTV, five cameras all around my small bungalow. But this incident took place outside my friends house which is a couple of houses down the road and is not covered by my CCTV, although it is covered by hers. If only I could make the PSNI pay attention I could pass the footage to them.

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