Stalking is difficult to define as section 2A(3) of the Protection from Harrassment Act 1997 lists a number of examples of behaviours associated with stalking but the list is not an exhaustive one. The list gives an indication of the types of behaviour that may result in a stalking charge. The listed behaviours are:
- (a) following a person
- (b) contacting, or attempting to contact, a person by any means
- (c) publishing any statement or other material relating or purporting to relate to a person, or purporting to originate from a person
- (d) monitoring the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication
- (e) loitering in any place (whether public or private)
- (f) interfering with any property in the possession of a person
- (g) watching or spying on a person.
Stalking can take place on the internet and through misuse of email. This is sometimes known as cyberstalking. This can include the use of social networking sites, chat rooms and other forums. The internet can be used for a range of purposes relating to harassment, for example:
- to locate personal information about a victim
- to communicate with the victim
- as a means of surveillance of the victim
- identity theft such as subscribing the victim to services, purchasing goods and services in their name
- damaging the reputation of the victim
- electronic sabotage such as spamming and sending viruses
- tricking other internet users into harassing or threatening a victim.
An allegation of cyber stalking can be tricky to prove and also difficult to defend. It is better to use solicitors with a track record of difficult cases including computer related crime.
Contact Dennis Clarke to discuss your needs and agree a fee structure to deal with this. At the same time why not have a policy to deal with other eventualities that are usually ignored but which will be expensive if no plan is in place. See our business section for more.