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Tenant of social landlord given six days in prison over breach of civil injunction by breaking Covid rules on illegal gatherings

Bromley County Court has released a tenant of social landlord Peabody Trust who served six days in prison for breaching a civil injunction imposed after breaches of Covid regulations on gatherings.

Deputy District Judge Paul ruled that the defendant would have been on “quite a sharp learning curve” having been remanded in custody in December.

The defendant occupies a Peabody Trust flat in Thamesmead and in April 2020 - at the height of the first lockdown - the landlord secured an injunction relating to behaviour causing a nuisance, selling or producing illegal drugs, excessive noise and a complete prohibition on the presence of visitors.

In November police were called and issued a number of fixed penalty notices and on 11 December there was another reported breach with a male visitor present.

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Four days later police found a young woman at the address, and in both cases the defendant claimed they were there due to mental health issues.

He was arrested and taken to court where he “effectively pleaded guilty to the allegations that were made against him” and was remanded in custody.

His barrister argued that the culpability was not persistent but concerned only the presence of two people on two separate occasions.

DDJ Paul said: “I am persuaded that this is not behaviour that either breaches the highest level of culpability or indeed in relation to the highest level of harm.

“Nevertheless, they were breaches and part of the seriousness of it can be deduced from the fact that not only was [the defendant] aware of an injunction prohibiting him from having people at his flat, there had been on a previous occasion penalty notices issued to people who were present at his flat.”

This though could be dealt with by a sentence equivalent to the six days [the defendant] served in custody before coming to the court.

“In my view, the sensible way of dealing with this, bearing in mind that it must have been quite a sharp learning curve for [the defendant] to suddenly find himself in custody, is that he has in effect received a punishment by reason of the deprivation of his liberty for the last six days, which aptly meets the seriousness of the breaches that he committed in this case,” the judge said.

Mark Smulian

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