Suffering Harassment? Judges Have The Power to Help You!
Judges have a panoply of powers to assist those who suffer harassment, both on the Internet and in the real world. In one case, the High Court issued an injunction to protect a psychiatrist who had been targeted by one of his former patients.
After receiving a diagnosis with which he was unhappy, the patient had taken to publishing scurrilous allegations against the psychiatrist on the Internet. He had made a death threat and the psychiatrist feared that he knew where he lived. He was concerned for his partner’s safety; the online allegations were harmful to his career and he had had to take time off work, suffering from stress.
After the patient behaved violently at the hospital where the psychiatrist worked, the latter’s NHS trust employer obtained an interim injunction, banning him from the premises, save in emergencies or to keep medical appointments. However, the order did not cover the psychiatrist’s home or the patient’s Internet activity.
In extending the injunction to fill those gaps, the Court noted that there was reason to believe that the patient had developed an obsession with the psychiatrist, who was entitled to live his life free from harassment. The patient was not restrained from complaining about the psychiatrist orally or to official bodies and he would have the opportunity to put forward arguments as to why the injunction should not be made permanent. If he breached the order, however, he would be at risk of receiving a prison sentence.