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Fedster

Landmark conviction as stalker jailed over 15 minutes of harassment

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Fedster

No pattern of incidents needed to be demonstrated.

Barham Hekmat threatened a 13-year-old

Barham Hekmat threatened a 13-year-old

 

Detectives secured a conviction for stalking for offences which occurred in less than 15 minutes.

Bahram Hekmat, 43, of Enfield, north London, was found guilty of stalking after making gestures at a teenager.

He pulled up in a car alongside the 13-year-old girl and started making what officers described as “romantic/sexual gestures” by blowing kisses and beckoning her to get into his vehicle.

The victim got on a bus, which Hekmat followed until she got off, then threatened that he would continue following her if she did not return his advances.

She alerted a member of the public, and Hekmat drove away.

He was convicted under Section 4A(1)(a)(b)(ii) and (5) of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 - stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress - and sentenced to nine months in jail.

A statement from the Met said: “This conviction is believed to be the first of its kind as the stalking took place within 15 minutes, unlike other incidents where it occurs on at least two separate occasions and is a pattern of incidents.

“Despite the short time window, the courts have decided that this incident constituted stalking and it is likely to become a stated case for future reference and guidance in court.”

Detective Constable Darren Barlow said: “This sentence reflects the seriousness of the offence committed - a disgusting act of public indecency which has left a young girl shaken and very upset.

“The effects of Hekmat’s behaviour continue to have a detrimental impact on the victim who at the time of the offence was just 13 years old.”

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Hyphen

He is clearly a horrible individual and I am glad he has been dealt with by the courts. He is someone who sounds like he preys on vulnerable young people.

However, I am not convinced at all by the stalking side of things based on the information in the article. I think this will be appealed and we may see some case law come from this. Are we really saying this is a course of conduct? I can’t help but think there is a serious fault in the finding.

I can’t see how he was even charged with this offence in the first place? I find it strange the CPS ran with this at court, unless of course he was just pleading guilty on the day? 

It does make for interesting discussion/legal debate...

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Reasonable Man

Why say it's not a pattern of incidents when;
A. The offence requires it to be; and
B. There was such a pattern?
He followed her when she was walking and harassed her, he followed her on the bus and then further harassed her when she got off.
It's also not unique. Several years ago someone was convicted of harassment for leaving three offensive messages on a voicemail within a short space of time.

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Hyphen

This is why I said it would be an interesting debate. 

He makes gestures, victim gets on bus, he follows and she gets off where a threat is made. Is that not the same incident? I am genuinely asking, not being sarcastic or anything like that.

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Reasonable Man

The test I apply is are the acts distinct and would be harassing without other acts? If so then it's a course of conduct.
The actions described both before and after she was on the bus were Section 4/4A POA offences causing harassment in their own right. Add the following her on the bus and you get the stalking element.
It's good this legislation was used as it would have been easy to have stuck with a low level offence. I wouldn't be surprised if in similar cases some officers would issue a PND for a Section 5.

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Sceptre
10 hours ago, Hyphen said:

This is why I said it would be an interesting debate. 

He makes gestures, victim gets on bus, he follows and she gets off where a threat is made. Is that not the same incident? I am genuinely asking, not being sarcastic or anything like that.

It might well be the same incident but it's still a course of conduct as it can be divided into different actions over a period of time. If we look at Lau v DPP [2000], R v Hills [2000] and R v Patel [2004] we can see that often the problem with harassment is proving that discrete instances can be linked as a course of conduct - clearly that isn't a problem here. 

Quote

S7(3) A course of conduct must involve -

(a) in the case of conduct in relation to a single person (see section 1(1)), conduct on at least two occasions in relation to that person...

He approaches the girl and makes advances which she refuses. He then continues to follow her after she's walked away and boarded the bus, and then shortly afterwards threatens to keep following her when he next has the opportunity. That is effectively another occasion as they've parted company and he's engineered another confrontation in order to continue behaviour which is oppressive and he knows is unwelcome.

This won't become a stated case as the article suggests unless it's appealed and upheld, but nonetheless good on the Met for bringing an innovative charge against an unpleasant offender.

Edited by Sceptre
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Hyphen

Cheers @Sceptre and @Reasonable Manfor the replies. It does make sense what you’re saying. 

As said I think many incidents like this are dealt with with lower level public order type offences so this will maybe give some food for thought.

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Zulu 22
17 minutes ago, Hyphen said:

Cheers @Sceptre and @Reasonable Manfor the replies. It does make sense what you’re saying. 

As said I think many incidents like this are dealt with with lower level public order type offences so this will maybe give some food for thought.

I do not think that there would be many cases like this though. He was clearly determined on a course of action which would appear to be sexually driven. Most would have driven off after the first incident. He did not, he persisted with his designs.  I would agree that 15 minutes of harassment is not a long time but the circumstances in this case went way beyond this type of incident.  I dread to think what could have been the result of this had the girl been coerced into his vehicle.

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