Injunction granted even where behaviour had ceased at time of hearing
In the High Court case of Reigate & Banstead Borough Council v Peter Walsh (2017), a final Civil Injunction was made despite the fact that the nuisance behaviour complained of had ceased on the date the interim injunction was granted.
The Defendant sent a stream of continuous emails threatening employees of the local authority's housing department following its decision to reject his homelessness application. Threats included one which stated that an employee would end up with bullets being fired at him. The local authority served the Defendant with a Community Protection Notice pursuant to s.43 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 but in breach of this notice, the Defendant went on to send more threatening emails and was therefore fined.
The local authority applied for and was granted an interim injunction preventing the Defendant from sending any emails to, or having contact with, its employees. The injunction had the desired effect and the behaviour ceased.
Subsequently, a final injunction was granted despite the fact that the Defendant failed to attend court. The Defendant had asked for more time to file evidence but had then failed to file any.
The High Court held that on the balance of probabilities, the Defendant had engaged or threatened to behave in anti-social behaviour and it was just and convenient to grant the injunction. In particular, the judge noted, that as the behaviour had ceased since the injunction was granted it would therefore be appropriate to continue it on the same terms. A power of arrest was also attached to the order.
The Defendant was therefore forbidden from contacting the local authority or its employees or agents by email or by telephone, from making threats to any employees or agents and from engaging in any conduct that might cause nuisance. The order did not prevent the Defendant from writing to a named person at the local authority with respect to any "legitimate business" he may have with it.
Whilst this case is only a decision of first instance, it is encouraging to note that judges will make robust orders where the housing management function of a social landlord is affected and employees are potentially at risk.