In a recent case, a man who was banned from entering the village in which he had previously lived, after successive acts of anti-social behaviour, has lost his appeal against the imposition of an anti-social behaviour injunction (ASBI).
Michael Redpath had lived in Warneage Green in Wiltshire for 48 years and had a history of anti-social behaviour when drunk. On one occasion he was imprisoned for six months for drink-driving, after his neighbours tipped off the police. In retaliation, Mr Redpath harassed them and damaged their property. His repeated anti-social behaviour led to Swindon Council evicting him from his home in 2006. In addition, Swindon County Court also granted the Council an ASBI forbidding Mr Redpath from entering the village.
In 2007, in defiance of the injunction, Mr Redpath entered the village and caused damage to cars and threw a stone through the window of a house. He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison and given another ASBI. Undeterred, he again entered the village in 2008. This time he threw a brick through a car windscreen and used a metal pole to smash another house window. He was served with yet another ASBI banning him from entering the village and from behaving in an anti-social manner.
Under section 153A of the Housing Act 1996, Mr Redpath’s conduct had to be deemed ‘housing-related’ in order for the Council to be permitted to use an ASBI against him. The Court of Appeal ruled that his conduct did fall within the definition of ‘housing-related’ for the purposes of the Act. His frequenting of a bus shelter and Council-owned garages let to tenants in the village was held to be housing-related conduct. It did not matter whether or not Mr Redpath or his former neighbours were Council tenants.
The Court was of the view that the removal of Mr Redpath as a tenant was insufficient on its own to protect the inhabitants of the village from his anti-social conduct.
The purpose of the law relating to anti-social behaviour is to reduce or eliminate it. Whilst the Court was aware of the danger of interpreting the legislation too widely, it should also not be interpreted in an artificially restrictive way. In situations such as this, citizens have a right to be protected from the anti-social actions of others. Mr Redpath’s appeal was therefore dismissed.