What to do if you were served with an online harassment injunction
If you have been served with a harassment injunction or restraining order in relation to your online activities and you are not sure about its full meaning, or if you feel it was served on you without justification, seek legal advice. You will need to speak to either a specialist internet expert lawyer or to a criminal lawyer, depending on the circumstances of the matter.
The language used when drafting a restraining order or harassment injunction is very important. It may be hard to decipher what the order means and it could inadvertently be drafted to give too much or too little scope, or not enough precision in scope, making it more likely for a breach to occur.
It is also important that you do not take any steps which might breach the terms of the harassment injunction in any way, as breaches of court orders such as harassment injunctions are regarded as being strict liability offences, meaning that there isn't an excuse or defence and no criminal intent by the defendant is required in order to be found guilty.
Even if you believe that the injunction was granted without any justification, you must still adhere to it. The consequences of breaching a restraining order are very serious, so that is why understanding the harassment injunction is absolutely necessary. A breach of a harassment injunction can result in your arrest and you will be required to appear before a judge and face charges of contempt of court. The judge can send you to prison, so make sure that you obtain legal representation for the hearing.
Injunctions that prevent you from expressing yourself on the internet are potentially breaching your rights under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act. Article 10 states that everyone has the right to freedom of expression. If a court hearing took place in your absence, you will have a right to challenge the grant of the harassment injunction in a full court hearing where the judge will hear your side of the story. Bear in mind that truth is not necessarily a defence to harassment.
When you are served with a harassment injunction, you should have it checked by an independent lawyer, together with any evidence you have to show that it was granted without justification. We have many years of experience in internet law and are familiar with the legal wording in any harassment injunctions and other letters and orders regarding a harassment, that may cause great confusion and we will be able to decipher it for you. This is extremely important to do, as getting it wrong could lead to hefty fines and imprisonment.
We will review the harassment injunction and your whole case paper if necessary and we will advise you of its full meaning and identify any flaws that might enable you to either challenge the order, or have it quashed should you already be facing court proceedings for breach.
We can help you with any concerns in connection with internet use and being served with a harassment injunction and we will advise you in order to not breach the terms of your injunction, which can so easily occur with any legal wording in documents.
Book a consultation with one of our expert internet law solicitors. Call us on 0800 612 7211 or drop us a line at: helpline at cohendavis.co.uk.