Controlling or Coercive Behaviour Offence
Specialist criminal solicitors and barristers at representing clients facing investigation for Controlling or Coercive Behaviour Offence
The offence of Controlling or Coercive Behaviour is contained within Section 76 of The Serious Crime Act 2015. This is a serious criminal offence which falls under the umbrella term of ‘long-term domestic abuse’, if a person is convicted of this offence the Court can impose a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
At Kang & Co Solicitors, we have a specialist team of solicitors and barristers that represent individuals that are under investigation or have recently been charged with the offence of Controlling or Coercive Behaviour. Our team are on hand to defend your reputation and liberty.
Our lawyers have represented clients charged with a range of complex and high-profile domestic violence prosecutions. These include domestic assault and controlling / coercive behaviour. We have a wealth of experience advising in investigations and prosecutions. If you require high quality legal advice and representation, so that you have the best possible chance of attaining a successful outcome, please call us on 03452229955 or complete our Contact Form.
Paying Privately for Representation for Controlling or Coercive Behaviour
We have been covering only private client criminal cases for many years and the benefits to our clients are clear. Our clients receive a much higher level of legal expertise and attention, because they are funding their cases privately. This enables us to dedicate more time in preparing the case, compared with firms that may also offer legal aid. Legal aid lawyers (Duty Solicitors) are often over-worked and are covering more cases than they should, as the nature of their work is reactive, and this can result in your case not receiving the time and attention it deserves.
Our private client solicitors are specialists in their field. They have significant experience and will have dealt with other cases like yours in the past and will know the best strategies to achieve a not guilty verdict.
Domestic Violence Prosecutions
Many criminal prosecutions result from incidents of violence and abuse in the home with offences ranging from common assault and criminal damage right up to, sadly, murder itself.
The Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS”), which prosecutes most criminal offences in England and Wales) has published guidelines which provide that domestic violence and/ or abuse describes controlling and coercive behaviour used by one person over another they have (or have had) an intimate or family relationship with. It is recognised that such behaviour may take different forms including being psychological, physical, sexual, financial and/ or emotional.
Since December 2015, a new offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship has applied under Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act (“SCA”) 2015. In April 2018, a 22-year-old woman was convicted of this offence along with offences of wounding her boyfriend with intent and causing him grievous bodily harm with intent. She was sentenced to seven and a half years’ imprisonment.
Controlling or Coercive Behaviour Offences
This offence can cover situations where there has been a pattern of controlling and coercive behaviour over a period of time when perhaps individual incidents would not of themselves be enough to give rise to another offence.
For someone to be guilty of the section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 offence, the CPS must prove that the accused person:
- Repeatedly or continuously engaged in behaviour towards the complainant that is controlling or coercive: Therefore, whilst behaviour by the accused on a single occasion is not sufficient there is no requirement for the behaviour to involve any threat of (or actual) physical harm either. The CPS guidance adopts the following definitions:
- Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependant by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
- “Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assaults, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”
- Was personally connected to the complainant at the time of the behaviour: This includes situations where they had an existing intimate personal relationship or otherwise lived together as members of the same family or after having previously been in an intimate personal relationship. The definition of family is wide covering marriage and civil partnership (including being engaged) and being parents of the same child. Where no such personal connection exists then no offence under section 76 will have been committed. The offence does not apply where the complainant was under 16 at the time of the behaviour although other offences may do so.
- Knew (or ought to know) their behaviour would have a serious effect on the complainant and the behaviour did have a serious effect upon them: Behaviour will have a serious effect where:
- It causes the complainant to fear, on at least two separate occasions, that violence will be used against them by the accused or someone else; or
- It causes the complainant serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on their usual day-to-day activities.
An accused need not have intended any serious effect by their actions. However, they will be taken as having been ought to know their behaviour would have such an effect on the complainant in circumstances where another reasonable person, in possession of the same information as the accused, would think that to be the case.
Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 provides for a defence to an allegation where, by engaging in the behaviour:
(a) the accused believed they were acting in the complainant’s best interests; and
(b) the accused’s behaviour was in all the circumstances reasonable.
This will be judged by the Court on the individual circumstances of the case but cannot apply where the accused’s behaviour caused the complainant to fear that violence would be used against them.
The offence can be tried in the Magistrates’ Court or by a jury in the Crown Court. The maximum sentence is one of five years’ imprisonment and/ or a fine in the Crown Court although the relevant sentencing guidelines for offenders aged 18 and over suggests a range of sentences between a community order up to four years’ imprisonment.
In the case of Vidgen  EWCA Crim 2385, a man had been sentenced to 13 months’ imprisonment for coercive behaviour towards his wife and a further 9 months’ imprisonment each for separate and discreet offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and sending a malicious communication (31 months’ imprisonment in total). The Court of Appeal upheld the sentence finding there had been nothing wrong in the decision to impose the sentences consecutively. In the recent case of R v Katira (Tarang)  EWCA Crim 89, a husband was sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment for a section 76 SCA 2015 offence involving five incidents spanning a nine-month period. His behaviour had involved making threats, grabbing, slapping, hitting and throwing objects at his wife. His appeal succeeded in so far as his sentence was reduced to 15 months’ imprisonment after the Court of Appeal had found (amongst other things) that five occasions of behaviour did not make the case one of higher culpability as the sentencing judge had initially concluded.
Why Instruct Kang & Co?
Clients choose us to represent them for their criminal law case (such as arson), because of our excellent track record and understanding approach towards their case, we understand and appreciate the impact of a conviction on your professional and personal life.
We have an outstanding reputation in the industry and regularly receive positive feedback from our clients. Regardless of how serious or minor the offence, our team of skilled criminal law solicitors are well trained, and highly motivated to protect your rights. If you instruct us to defend your case, we will explain everything to you about your prosecution and will discuss your bespoke defence strategy with you in detail and will advise you on all the possible outcomes.
- Fixed Fees: We offer competitive fixed fees for a wide range of budgets;
- Only Qualified Lawyers: If appointed, only a Qualified Solicitor and or Barrister will work on your case;
- Skilled Solicitors: Our Criminal Defence Solicitors have an excellent record in successfully defending criminal charges in the Magistrates’ and Crown Court.
- Tailored Bespoke Service: We meet all our clients at our offices, so that we can properly understand the individual needs and requirements of each client, and prepare a bespoke defence strategy;
- Top-Tier Representation: Due to our skill and expertise in representing professionals charged with criminal offences, our lawyers are frequently appointed to defend clients from all walks of life including prominent business owners, high level professionals and sports personalities;
- Highly Experienced Lawyers: Our clients pay privately, and this enables us to instruct some of the leading criminal defence barristers in the country that have decades of experience, including leading Queen’s Counsel;
- National Coverage: We have offices in Birmingham, Milton Keynes and London and are ideally located to represent clients nationally at Courts throughout England and Wales;
- Best Rated Solicitors: We are recognised as one of the leading law firms in Private Criminal Defence cases;
- 5 Star Law Firm: Our clients frequently leave positive feedback and reviews, as we keep our clients updated and provide honest and skilled advice from the outset;
In addition to having our own in-house barristers and advocates, we also have strong working relationships with very senior members of the Bar (including QC’s) and other leading legal experts in their field who can form part of your legal defence team.
Funding Your Case
If you are facing a criminal investigation or prosecution, you should seek out the very best lawyers to defend your case, so that you have the best chance of a successful outcome. Our solicitors and barristers are highly experienced and recognised nationally for successfully defending a significant number of high-profile criminal prosecutions throughout England and Wales.
As a specialist private funded criminal defence law firm, we represent clients that are in a financial position to fund their cases privately, as a result our clients do not qualify for Public Funding (Legal Aid) and for that reason we do not undertake any work on Legal Aid.
Our Private Legal Defence Lawyers accept new cases on a Fixed Fee basis, ensuring that our clients know exactly how much their case will cost from the outset.
Private legal representation is not only reserved for the wealthy, many of our clients are ordinary people that require a robust defence team to provide them with the best chance of protecting their reputation and career. If you require more information on the cost of defending your case, speak to one of our solicitors for a free no obligation fee estimate.
AGREED FEE CRIMINAL LAWYERS
Our Agreed Fees for Private Crime cases start from;
£1500 + VAT
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