We can now confirm that Hampstead SRA hoax campaigner Sabine McNeill was arrested at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, 4th August, and questioned by Camden police. While no details have yet been officially released regarding charges against her, it appears likely that the arrest was related to violations of the restraining order imposed on Sabine on 18th July, following her trial for conspiracy to commit witness intimidation.
The restraining order was applied post-acquittal. Here’s a brief explanation of how that works:
Section 12 of the DVCVA 2004 introduced section 5A into the PHA 1997, which allows the court to make a restraining order after acquitting a defendant of any offence if the court considers it necessary to do so to protect a person from harassment from the defendant.
Unlike restraining orders on conviction, there is no power to protect a person from fear of violence that falls short of harassment where the defendant has been acquitted.
Harassment is not defined in the PHA 1997, except that it includes causing a person alarm or distress. For further guidance see Stalking and Harassment.
Section 5A was introduced to deal with those cases where there is clear evidence that the victim needs protection, but there is insufficient evidence to convict on the particular charges before the court. It is still open to the victim to seek a non-molestation order or injunction from a civil court. However, this more proactive approach on the part of the courts using section 5A is seen as not only avoiding delay and increased costs to the legal aid budget, but also providing a more seamless process of providing protection to victims.
We can also confirm that as of about 11:00 a.m. on Friday, 5th August, Sabine was sighted on Finchley Road, leading to conjecture that she has been bailed. However, we should caution that no confirmation of this has been received.
We will bring you updates as they come in.