What Is The Definition of Stalking?
Repeated conduct that causes a person, or persons, fear or alarm.
‘Conduct’ can refer to a number of threatening behaviours, including following someone; contacting someone; publishing a statement related to, or purportedly originating from, someone; monitoring someone’s electronic communications; spying on someone; and generally acting in a way that a reasonable person knows would cause fear. The accused must have committed such an alarming action on more than one occasion.
A person does not necessarily have to intent to cause fear or alarm. With stalking, the accused’s intentions are legally irrelevant. It is sufficient that they caused another person to feel fear through behavior they should have known was threatening.
Prior to 2010, stalking was not criminalised directly in Scots law. Offences that would now be considered stalking were previously prosecuted solely as harassment under the common law of Breach of the Peace. Depending on the case, the procurator fiscal still might pursue a charge of stalking by way of Breach of the Peace, the Common Law of Threats and/or the Sexual Offences Act 2009.
Been Charged for Stalking? We can Help
There are three possible defences to a charge of stalking: that it was authorized by rule of law; that it was part of a criminal investigation; and that the behavior was reasonable. For the majority of our clients, the former reasons would be non-starters, so we often find ourselves focusing on the latter, the particular circumstances in which the stalking occurred and establishing that our client was justified in his or her behaviour.
This new legislation means that stalking is now recognized as a serious crime and can result in up to 5 years’ imprisonment and a hefty fine. If you have been charged with stalking, it is imperative that you contact a criminal defence solicitor.
To discuss your case with us, email via the adjacent form, or call on 0141 226 8825. We are available 24/7 and all cases will be considered.