21 February, 2019
Lincolnshire Housing Partnership (LHP) protect their staff and residents with a 5 year Injunction & Power of Arrest including a whole estate exclusion clause
Details of Court Proceedings
In March 2018, the Defendant attacked one of LHP's employee's and then went on to damage the employee's van. This incident took place on an estate (the Estate) which contains hundreds of LHP's properties and tenants. Following the incident, the Defendant was arrested by police and bailed to an LHP address on the Estate (the Property) pending the criminal trial.
Within 48 hours of the attack, LHP had obtained a without notice injunction and power of arrest to protect its tenants, staff and contractors from the Defendant. The injunction was made for 12 months. Although LHP sought a clause excluding the Defendant from the Estate, the Judge refused to grant this on the basis that the Defendant was subject to criminal bail conditions which required him to live at the Property. At a return hearing a few weeks later, the court finalised the injunction in its existing format and the Defendant was ordered to pay LHP's costs.
LHP subsequently issued possession proceedings against the tenant of the Property. At court the tenant admitted that, while the Defendant had been residing at the Property, he had caused anti-social behaviour and had been convicted of drug related offences in the locality. As a result, the tenant was made subject to a suspended possession order (SPO). One of the terms of the order stated that the tenant must not allow the Defendant to reside at the Property once the pending criminal case had concluded and his bail conditions had lapsed.
Whilst awaiting trial for the offence against LHP's contractor, the Defendant committed further violent offences on the Estate. This included assaulting a paramedic. When arrested for this further offence, the Defendant was in possession of a folding knife. In autumn 2018 the criminal trial took place dealing with all of the offences. The Defendant pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to LHP's employee and to causing criminal damage to the employee's vehicle. He also pleaded guilty to assaulting the paramedic and to a further assault, which he had committed in the locality. The Defendant received a two and a half year prison sentence, which commenced immediately.
Application to Amend Injunction
Following the Defendant's conviction, HMP Hull advised LHP that the Defendant could be eligible for home detention curfew just a few months into his sentence. As the original injunction was due to expire in March 2019, LHP was worried that the Defendant would be able to return to the Estate upon his release, which would leave residents and staff without protection. Furthermore, LHP worried about the implication this would have upon the tenant of the Property given that they would be in breach of the SPO if he returned to live with them.
In order to mitigate the risk posed by the Defendant, LHP made an application to vary the terms of the injunction to include a full exclusion from the Estate. In addition, LHP sought to increase the duration of the order so that it would remain in place for 5 years.
At the subsequent court hearing, LHP relied upon the Defendant's convictions to evidence the violent offences he had committed on the Estate. After considering the evidence and submissions made, the Judge found that LHP were justified in seeking an extension to the duration of the order and in seeking to exclude the Defendant from the Estate. The Judge granted both requests and the injunction will now remain in place until March 2023.
Shirley Faragher, Partner with conduct of the case at Forbes Solicitors, commented
"This is a fantastic outcome for LHP and shows the organisation's commitment to tackling violence and anti-social behaviour on its estates. Hopefully staff, contractors and other residents can rest assured knowing that even if the Defendant is released from prison early, he will not be able to return to the estate until March 2023."
LHP Chief Executive Murray Macdonald, commented on how this case has demonstrated his organisation's commitment to protecting both its staff and residents,
"LHP are really pleased with the outcome. We will not tolerate violent, abusive, threatening and aggressive behaviour towards out staff, contractors or residents."
"A prompt and robust response to this incident has resulted in a clear message being sent to others who may be thinking about engaging in similar behaviour. LHP now has an order that provides staff with additional protection to be able to continue with their duties as well as allowing other residents peaceful enjoyment of their tenancies"
If you have any questions relating to this article, please contact Lara Geldard on 01257 240851 or email Lara Geldard.