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Please help with harassment claim & potential appeal against civil proceedings

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  • Please help with harassment claim & potential appeal against civil proceedings

    Hi everyone, I am desperate for some advice and help so please bear with me on what is an extremely difficult and complex case.

    There are several elements to my case, but I will try to summarize as best as I can.

    I need advice on pursuing a claim for harassment against a former landlord and potentially a appeal against civil court proceedings concluded last week.

    I took a civil claim against him because when I fled his property quickly (to a refuge) as a result of his threatening behaviour which culminated in a threat of sexual violence I left belongings behind.
    I returned to collect them 28 days after fleeing to find that he had destroyed all of my possessions.

    I spent 3 months at the refuge which had a massive impact on my health and I have subsequently taken civil court proceedings.

    The Defendant used to refer to me as "slut" or "bitch" even though I asked him several times not to. I have evidence of this from text messages from him which state "I own you slut" etc in them. Just for clarification, he propositioned me a few times and took offense when I rejected him. There was never any sort of intimacy between us. I made it clear that I was not interested.
    What transpired after I left the property was that the Defendant had been taking covert video recordings of me around the home and posting these online with "fat slut" or "bitch broke my washing machine" alongside. I feel SO violated.

    Unfortunately as a litigant in person the court proceedings were extremely difficult and when I filled in the original Particulars of claim form (N1) I merely listed the belongings that were destroyed or retained.
    I made reference to the harassment element of my claim, but didn't specifically mention it (although I was specific in my witness statement and expressly stated that I was making the claim for damages for harassment and damage to belongings under the torts interference with goods act) So therefore when we got to the final hearing, the judge refused to hear the harassment element of my claim.

    Additionally the Defendant failed to comply with deadlines, Mediation or anything throughout the entire court proceedings and was allowed to make a mockery of me and of the system.
    During the final hearing last week, I tried to get his Witness Statement struck out as it was NOT verified by a statement of truth, was not compliant and was full of glaring inconsistencies, but the judge refused.
    I was also seeking costs due to the unreasonable behaviour of the Defendant, but because the claim was on the small claims track the judge even refused that. I was as annoyed and I feel so badly let down.
    So that brings me to the reason why I am here. The purpose of taking these proceedings is that I wanted the Defendant to face some consequences of his abhorrent behaviour and although I won (£480.00 of my original claim of £1,800 not including £524.00 costs) I don't feel that he has suffered any consequence. He was arrogant and cocky in court as usual and needs to be brought down a peg or 2 to realise that his behaviour is not acceptable.

    I am wondering what the next steps might be; do I issue a separate harassment claim (and how do I quantify the harassment element in money terms) or appeal against the decision made in the court last week and how do I do this with no legal representation?
    Just to clarify I am also considering making a legal aid exceptional case funding application because I don't feel able to represent myself in such a difficult and emotive case.
    Any help, advice or tips would be SO gratefully received and appreciated.
    Thank you
    Last edited by Amethyst; 7th February 2019, 15:31:PM.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    My apologies, I also forgot to mention that I would like to bring contempt proceedings as well.
    His claims and witness statement was full of the most hideous, offensive claims.
    As an example he claims that I am an alcoholic, I was rarely sober!

    He also claims that i damaged his home and owed him rent. I therefore provided bank statements that showed this was false and screenshots of messages saying "thanks for cleaning the house, it's spotless" or "thanks for (his) children's Christmas gifts" etc.

    The most disturbing and disgusting comments of all included that the threat of sexual violence (rape) was in his words "banter".
    And that I discussed dates that I had gone in with him and certain sexual preferences including a sexual assault fantasy with him (his words written in his Witness Statement)

    I can't even begin to convey how sickening and frightening this is. I am appalled and disgusted by these comments and the fact that he has written them in a legal document that is not verified and is completely bloody false is evidential of his nature.


    • #3
      So you have a judgment of £480 against the Defendant .... well done, it tooks some guts to get through this claim ... I know you didn't manage to get the full amount you'd claimed for - were some of the items you'd requested turned down or found to be overvalued ? You'd need grounds for an appeal so need to know the judges reasoning/ruling on your claim for the damaged property etc.

      If you hadn't claimed specifically for harassment in your original claim it isn't something you could just add in during your witness statement or at the hearing so that will be why it wasn't considered.

      Were the Police involved when you first left the property and went to the refuge ? Was any action taken about his behaviour at that point ?

      Is he contacting you other than via court to deal with the claim ? If so, then there is some information about harrassment here - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/la...ut-harassment/

      Unfortunately trying to use the civil court system to 'bring him down a peg or two' will just end up costing you a fortune and causing further stress....and prolong needing to be in contact with the bloke... sometimes it's a good idea to put things behind you and move on.
      “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

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      • #4

        Yes it was extremely difficult to say the least. The Judge immediately cut my original claim of £1,800 by half because he stated that I can only claim the second hand value not the replacement value. Then he devalued some items even though I had some receipts and valuations and took off other items.
        I am annoyed with this as every item on there was a genuine value and items that were never returned it it destroyed. The amount received barely covers my costs.
        I paid £155 to a company providing legal advice and assistance and I have to pay £90 to the enforcement company because I started enforcement proceedings when I had the Default judgement back in May 2018 before it was set aside.

        ​​​​​​The police issued a harassment pin warning but wouldn't take any further action because they said that they made sure I was "safe" by assisting me to get to the refuge and that the pin warning was the only action that they could take, that it was a civil matter.

        I don't feel that I can move on at the moment tbh. I don't feel that I have achieved the ,'''''icr' that I know I deserve and so badly need. I also want to try to protect any future tenants or females that come into contact this animal especially given his disgusting comments trying to justify his behaviour in his own WS.


        • #5
          That should be 'justice' * above..... Don't know how that went so wrong !


          • #6
            In brief summary what I want to know is what is the best option regards this ??
            to a) Appeal against the decision last week (bearing in mind 21 day time constraints and lack of representation) or
            b) Issue a new/separate claim for harassment (would know how to ''quantify' the harassment element put an appropriate amount to it) May consider an illegal eviction claim alongside this and would again require representation.

            How to pursue contempt charges

            Thank you


            • #7
              As a side issue I am currently getting my medical records to prove that I suffered exceptional distress and hardship and visited my Doctor several times during my 3 months at the refuge after I fled from his property.

              I am also considering applying for exceptional case funding (legal aid)


              • #8
                Anyone care to help?


                • #9
                  If I understand correctly, you have two separate issues with the LL.

                  One is that he harassed you. You have not yet brought that case, and you have plenty of time still to do so. You can hold it over him until you're in a better place to pursue the matter.

                  The other is the case against him for destroying your belongings. You won that case, but you are disappointed with the amount awarded. Unfortunately, appealing the judgment is exceptionally complicated. The judge made a finding of fact as to what your belongings were worth. In general, you can't appeal findings of fact. You can really only appeal points of law. Did the judge mis-direct himself on the law in determining the secondhand value of your stuff? I'm afraid that it doesn't look like it, so the judgment is effectively unappealable.

                  One of the things about court proceedings is that they are intended to bring matters to a close. Justice is a more difficult concept, and to be honest I am not sure the courts are always very good at that. It is a shame that the judge was not more sympathetic, but I think that you should accept that the award you got is very disappointing, shrug it off, and get on with your life.

                  As to the harassment claim, Amethyst's advice, above, is very good. As a halfway house, I suggest that you park the harassment claim for now, and see how you feel in a few months' time. If it's any consolation to you, the landlord sounds like a right <words fail me!>. Hopefully, he'll upset someone else, who will knock his block off.


                  • #10
                    2222 Thank you so much for your very helpful post. I will note your comments.
                    What I will say in relation to the Judge's decision is that I feel he applied the CPR rules incorrectly (I appreciate that he has the ability to 'bend' them a little in small claims) but one of the main issues is that the Defendant did not verify his WS with a statement of truth but it was still allowed.
                    The other error I feel that he made was not allowing the harassment element of my claim. I didn't specifically state in my particulars of claim form. I mentioned the behaviour of the landlord and alluded to it, but I DID state expressly in my WS that I was making a claim under the Protection from Harassment act and the Torts interference with goods act.
                    That is why I am SO aggrieved by the decision the Judge made, I provided valuations, receipts and photos but he still devalued some items .
                    The Defendant had also behaved wholly unreasonably throughout the process including not complying with deadlines, refusing mediation etc so I asked for costs (£524) which the Judge also refused stating that costs can't be awarded in the small claims track, but again costs can be awarded at the discretion of the Judge, even on the small claims track.
                    Also the Defendant's WS was a mess, not set out properly and was inconsistent throughout. The credibility of the Defendant was smashed to pieces through the hearing. For example he claimed that he was away when i fled due to his behaviour so I provided a dated photo showing him at the property and a message from him the day I left saying that the police had called to speak to him.
                    Then he claimed three separate amounts owed in rent and I provided bank statemens to disprove his claims that I owed him rent.
                    I just can't understand that the system is supposed to be clear, the CPR guidelines are set out for a reason but what is the point in them?? The Defendant was allowed to make obscene defamatory allegations, lie through his teeth which was blindingly clear nd make a mockery of the system. My costs were not even covered for Goodness sake and there was no recognition of all my hard work and the hideous trauma that the Defendant put me through.

                    I feel that I have to pursue this tbh. He indicated that he has a new tenant so I need to ensure that any females that come into contact with know about his behaviour and don't have to endure the same.


                    • #11
                      Argghh..... Memory like a sieve.
                      The Defendant stated that "he is not paying me" at the end of the hearing so it looks like I may have to do an attachment of earnings or something like that.
                      I have been informed previously that the Army will act as enforcement and take money owed out of his wages?
                      Therefore I am considering sending the order along with some evidence and both WS's to let the Army know about the behaviour of one of their '''upstanding" officers?
                      Would you recommend that I take this step or enforce by the usual means ?


                      • #12
                        On the defendant's witness statement, it sounds like the judge believed your version, so it doesn't matter that his version wasn't chucked out.

                        Judges do give a lot of leeway in the small claims track. However, you can't just slip a harassment claim into your WS. It has to go in the particulars of claim, right at the outset. The good news is that you can start again with that claim.

                        I would hesitate to report his behaviour to the army. Just send them the judgment and ask if they will help you with collecting the money. I've no idea whether they will, but it's worth a shot.


                        • #13
                          If I decide to go ahead with a claim for harassment, am I right in thinking that it would be a section 8 claim and therefore won't go on the small claims track no matter what the value of the claim is?

                          What I can't seem to be able to do or find information on is when I fill in the New particulars of claim form, how do I place a amount on it??
                          It's not the same as belongings, that have a actual Value, for example a television worth £xx
                          Could I merely put '''un-specified" in the box or leave it empty and let the judge decide??

                          Also how do I go about pursuing contempt charges and potentially illegal eviction? Would that go with the harassment element or would it be a separate claim?

                          Sorry for the questions. Thank you.


                          • #14
                            I have looked at the VENTO Guidelines but it seems that they relate to employment claims in a tribunal as opposed to Civil Litigation claims ??


                            • #15
                              If anyone could offer any advice on challenging the Police, asking for a further review etc that would also be helpful.
                              I feel that only then he will get the consequences he actually deserves and it would strengthen my civil claim. (Just to clarify, he was issued with a pin and is not harassing me now, but I have lots of messages and evidence of the harassment he put me through and of the covert photos and recordings he took and posted online)


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