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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Unfortunately I am on sex offender order and and the enquiry

Customer Question

Unfortunately I am on sex offender order and and the enquiry below is about the section 4 of the order.
“ Undertaking any activity (paid, voluntary or recreational), which by its status is likely tobring into repeated contact with persons under the age of 16 years”
I would like to know if this section is too vague, as the children are everywhere: on the street, shopping centers, libraries, church, mosques, busses, etc. So is it not practically possible to follow it? Does it meet the Human Rights Guidelines on the freedom of movement? Pleaase not my offence took 13 years ago. Also does the word “repeated” means coming into contact with any children or the same children.?
Also I want to join DW Fitness Centre. It has a modern large gym, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna. I have a medical certificate from my GP to use such facilities on medical grounds. This gym allows children under 14 from 2pm till 5 pm and they are allowed to use only the swimming pool. Also it allows children 14 to 15 years of age to use all the facilities but only when accompanied by the parent or guardian. Compared to the adults there are only a very small proportion of 14-15 years old at peak periods after 6 pm and hardly anyone any other time, e.g. at 6 am. Can I use the facilities making sure that I don’t use the gym, sauna, Jacuzzi and swimming pool between 2 till 5 pm, though the gym is separated from the swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna but the swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna are in the same compound. Also if I attend the gym with my wife only during the school hours or after 6 am, then it will be highly unlikely that any 14-15 years will be there as they have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
If go to a house with no children and if all of a sudden any child(ren) come I leave the house immediately. As there are hardly 14-15 years old in the gym at any time and if I see them I am wiling to move away from them or even leave the gym.
So in nutshell I want to make least possible to come in contact with 14-15 years old. And please note that the gym is always full with adults. And on the whole, as children are everywhere, it is impossible not come into contact with them.
Also I cannot find any Adult only gym in Blackburn with the Jacuzzi, swimming pool and sauna. If there are any, they will be very expensive – though I have not seen any yet. Please note that I have a medical certificate for using the gym and in particular the steam bath and Jacuzzi which are highly therapeutic for my body joints , especially for my age. I will be 71 years old in Augustt2013.

Taking into account the aforementioned, my question is that , will be in breach of my sex offender order if I attend the gym, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and the sauna, when it is hardly likely that any 15-16 years be there. And even if I find them, I am willing to move away or even leave the building. If the public protection unit insists that by attending the gym, is it not their responsibility to provide such faculties for me, especially when the human rights regulation coming in so frequently. Many thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

In order to give you answer tailored to your circumstances I will need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

When you say the order I presume you mean a sexual offence prevention order?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
yes
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Im on a mobile device now and I can't open your original post

I can do it when im back at about 8 if that's ok?

Sorry for the delay
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Sorry for the delay.

When was this order imposed and are there any qualifications to that condition at all?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
About 10 years ago, Sep 2013. What do you mean by

"and are there any qualifications to that condition at all?"

Regards

Fahim Mirza


Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Words like ' without reasonable excuse' ?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. I copied the order word to word. Only the word REPEATED may have some allowance. I also sent you an enquiry about this order sometime ago where you can find any more useful information.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks.

I'm due in court this morning and I need to look at the caselaw on this. I can get back to you this afternoon if thats ok?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes. At your earliest convenience please
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the information. Sorry for the delay. I’ve been running around a bit today.

I do actually think you have a challenge on this basis although you cannot hide from the problems that delay brings.

Perhaps we could deal with that right at the outset? The reason that such a wide SOPO has been imposed is that it was an order made 10 years ago before most of the defining cases. It must be said though that the Crown Court Judge should have known better as, although there had been very little on SOPOs at that time, there had been many cases arising from ASBOs and the same principles apply. Nevertheless, the fact that you have waited nearly 10 years to take action will be unattractive. You would need to get leave to appeal which might be refused for that reason.

On your main point though, I don’t think the issue is vagueness, per se. I think the issue that it might be argued that it represents an unreasonable restrictions upon your Art 5 rights.

A SOPO must meet the twin tests of clarity and necessity. The test of necessity, which was the starting point under s 104 of the 2003 Act, brings with it the subtest of proportionality. That doesn’t just apply to the need for a SOPO at all but to the proportionality of its conditions.

One can completely see what the Judge meant when he was forming this order but as you say there are children everywhere. A blanket ban upon computer use or internet access has been struck down as disproportionate because it restricts the offender in the use of what is fairly essential part of daily living now.

Prohibitions upon actual contact with children are reasonable enough and may need to restrict your employment but this does seem to extend to everything. If you can get passed time barring, I think you would have a fairly good case for variation.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1. Thanks for your reply.

I would like to point out that It was not SOPO. It was a sex offender order. To the best of my knowledge, though the SOPO was made in 2003 but it did not come into practice until 2004. The SOO was a civil order dealt by a magistrate in a Blackburn magistrate court. The prohibitions were written by the Public Protection Unit and the Judge approved it.

2. So can I join the gym taking into account all the aforementioned facts?

2. Would you be able to get me off the Order? How much will it cost me? r could you recommend someone whose costs will be low. I know for the fact I would not be able to get legal aid, I just pass the threshold for the legal aid grant.

Thanks.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
1 That shouldn't make all that much difference. It was after the defining cases relating to ASBOs and they still have to comply with the HRA.

2 No. That would be a breach. You need to get the order varied.

3 Nobody can guarantee anything obviously. Its quite unlikely the order would be removed entirely but it might be varied to something more sensible. You can try this counsel

http://www.1itl.com/profiles/103

in the morning. You won't get legal aid but you can approach counsel now on a public access basis which is much cheaper.

Probably advise only would be about £200 ish.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1 That shouldn't make all that much difference. It was after the defining cases relating to ASBOs and they still have to comply with the HRA.

What do these words mean: ASBOs HRA

Thanks for your such useful advice.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Anti social behaviour orders

Human Rights Act
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your expert answers. In my original question I mentioned that if I am in some one’s house and a child comes in than I leave. In the gym there are hardly ever 15-16 years old, especially during off peak periods and school hours. If I attend the gym, (and take my wife as well,) during these hours and if I suspect there is any 15-16 is there, then I am prepared to leave the gym. What is your advice? My dilemma is that there are no adult only gyms where I live and especially with the Jacuzzi and Sauna. There must be some one responsibility to meet my health needs.HR?? I have a doctor’s certificate to attend a gym for health reasons at reduced cost.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
The only way to be sure that you wold not be prosecuted is to appeal the order and seek variation.

Obviously CPS would have to consider whether or not a breach is sufficiently serious to be in the public interest to prosecute but that relates to public interest not a defence.

If this order has no qualification at all then you are on technical breach if you act contrary to it
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks very much. No more questions now in this matter.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No problem.

All the best. Please remember to rate my answer

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