Police excuses –

Excuse 001.

Excuse: You cannot ‘seek to be harassed‘.

The fact is, you can, (in many cases).

The reason they will use this excuse is based on a misconception of other cases that exist, for example,  where say an animal rights activist has gone online and found images of animal slaughter.  Although the slaughter of an animal is (sadly) lawful and it is without question this would cause alarm and distress to see such images, you cannot report someone for harassment simply because they have published something (legally) that you find distressing.

If for example, a person is publishing something derogatory about you on their Facebook page or otherwise in a place you are not likely to see it,  but, for whatever reason you do see it, and it does cause harassment, then this may constitute an offence of harassment.  If the person is doing this knowing (or that they ought to know) that you could or will see it, (even if you do not have a reason to look for it), then they would have no defence.

The only defence for such a course of conduct  not to apply is if the person who pursued it shows

(a) that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime,

(b) that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment, or

(c)that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable.

There is no defence that the victim sought to be harassed.

The test is that of a reasonable person.  A reasonable person would agree that distressing matters exist in modern society, and seeking out such distressing matters cannot be deemed harassment, however, if the defendant was sending emails, letter or anything relating to animal slaughter to the victim, then this would.

The police will often use this excuse to avoid prosecuting offences, suggesting that a victim seeing or looking at a person’s social media when the victim is aware that are trying the cause alarm or distress.  Of course if a victim is aware that a person may post something derogatory about them, and they simply ‘check’ to see if they have, this does not constitute a defence in law and the police know this.

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