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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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If the evidence suggests sect 2 harassment act but because

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If the evidence suggests sect 2 harassment act but because its statued barred they charge section 4a is this allowed

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Do you mean S4A public order act?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


no threats of violence


Is this racially or religiously aggravated?

If not, how does using S4a give them any more time than S2?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

its not but section 4a is either way , in my option a case of harassment with no violence but texts and emails


S4 a of the public order act is not either way.

Are you sure this isn't S4 harassment act?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes it is 4a harassment act

I'm not sure that can be right. There isnt a S4a Protection of Harassment Act.

There is a S4, of course, but not a 4a.

Sorry to be pedantic but it is important to ascertain what you are charged with.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes there is it was introduced to cover incidents of stalking, it was introduced 2012


The PHA was brought into force on 16 June 1997 and was amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 to include two new specific offences of stalking, through the insertion of sections 2A and 4A. A court dealing with a person convicted of any offence, including those under sections 2, 2A, 4 or 4A of the PHA,

they wanted to charge maliious communications but it was stayed barred


So you mean s2 A not S4 A?

Introduced by Protection of Freedoms Act 2012?

So they were going to charge you with S2 but are now using S2A?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

no they have charged me 4a harassment act


New offence of stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress (section 4A)

  1. Section 4A of the 1997 Act prohibits a course of conduct relating to the offence of stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress.

  2. The first arm of the offence prohibits a course of conduct that causes the victim to fear, on at least two occasions that violence will be used against them (which is similar to the existing section 4 offence).

  3. For the purposes of section 4A, (b)(i) a person (A) ought to know that A’s course of conduct will cause another B to fear that violence will be used against the other person on any occasion if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct would cause B so to fear on that occasion.

  4. The second arm of the offence prohibits a course of conduct which causes ‘serious alarm or distress’ which has a ‘substantial adverse effect on the day-to-day activities of the victim’. It is designed to recognize the serious impact that stalking may have on victims, even where an explicit fear of violence is not created by each incident of stalking behaviour.

  5. The phrase ‘substantial adverse effect on the usual day-to-day activities’ is not defined in section 4A, and thus its construction will be a matter for the courts via judicial interpretation. However, the Home Office considers that evidence of a substantial adverse effect when caused by the stalker may include:

  • the vic***** *****ing their routes to work, work patterns, or employment

  • the victim arranging for friends or family to pick up children from school (t

Well, thats the wrong section anyway. But they can put all that right in due course.

The new offence of stalking is simple enough. You will find it here

They are perfectly free to use the new law if it applies. If they cannot prove it then it will collapse.

My only observation though is that if you look at subsection 1[ii] there is no need to prove an overt threat of violence but just distress or alarm having a substantially adverse affect upon the victim.

However, if you look at the definitinos then this section would seem to demand some form of threat of violence. If none is alleged then it will all disappear.

If the Crown have brought a weak charge because they are displeased that S2 is no longer available to them then they are free to bring a weak but arguable case but its not likely to lead to a conviction.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you