Socialist Worker

Blunkett: a case for prosecution under harassment law

by The Defender
Issue No. 1930

AS A lawyer, I have other concerns beyond whether David Blunkett is the father of the two children to a married woman he was having an affair with and whether he fast-tracked a visa for her servant.

Is he guilty under the law of harassment? The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 abides:

“1. (1) a person must not pursue a course of conduct—

(a) which amounts to harassment of another and

(b) which knows or ought to know amounts to the harassment of another

2. (1) a person who pursues a course of conduct in breach of section 1 is guilty of an offence

(2) a person guilty of an offence under that section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months...”

The Court of Appeal has already decided that the purpose of the Act was “that persons should not be put in a state of alarm or distress by the behaviour of others”.

So what appears to be the evidence? Reports say that Blunkett is alleged to have sent Mrs Quinn as many as 10 letters from his lawyers demanding DNA tests to establish whether he is the father of her unborn baby.

He is said to have repeatedly written to her detailing the times and locations of their meetings during the affair, endlessly repeating the list and causing enormous hurt to her and her husband.

Friends are deeply concerned for the health of Mrs Quinn, who is several months pregnant, and warn that Blunkett’s barrage of letters is putting her under a huge strain.

Her friends state Blunkett bombarded her with late night phone calls. “She is very afraid of him. She finds him very bullying and overpowering,” they say.

The prosecution do not have to prove very much to secure a conviction. In the case of Kelly v DPP it was held that three telephone calls within five minutes were capable of constituting the course of conduct for harassment.

I am of the opinion that the prosecution have a very good case if they felt so inclined to pursue this matter.

He could be given one of those Anti-Social Behaviour Orders with a condition to stay out of the genteel area of Mayfair, where the woman lives, or one of those newfangled Parenting Orders.

Charge Blunkett—that’s what I say.

Socialist Worker will be running a regular column by The Defender covering your legal questions, injustices and establishment hypocrisy


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News
Sat 4 Dec 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1930
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