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On purpose

By Steven | March 21, 2013

If someone applies for a civil restraining order under our Harrassment Act, there is a defence of lawful purpose.

I’ve often wondered just how far this can be taken. It must surely be a lawful purpose to tell someone that you love them. But it’s hard to see that excusing a fellow who pursues this purpose by emailing and texting┬áhis reluctant beloved fifty times a day, writes her letters, waits outside her house, and delivers copious gifts of hand-made Star Wars figures.

The UK Supreme Court may have shed some light on this. In an analogous context, it has ruled that for a purpose to be legitimate, it must be something that they intend (a subjective element), but also that it must not be irrational (an objective element). It remains to be seen whether our courts will pick up on this.

Topics: Harassment Act |

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