Tim here draws our attention to the Telegraph’s
“ Year of the Asbo”. The piece by Ed West points out that any rubbishy heresay evidence-and believe me I've heard such stuff- can be used to
convince a more and more compliant magistracy to dole out these orders.
But the lawyer at the Home Office who devised the Asbo procedure has been topped by his colleague who thought up this section inserted into the Protection from Harassment Act by the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004
-5A Restraining orders on acquittal
(1) A court before which a person ("the defendant") is acquitted of an offence may, if it considers it necessary to do so to protect a person from harassment by the defendant, make an order prohibiting the defendant from doing anything described in the order.
Like the Asbo, this provision allows the court to hear “any evidence before the court that would be admissible in civil proceedings under section 3 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Section 3 of the Act sets out the procedure for obtaining an injunction to prevent harassment in the civil courts.” In other words, following the Asbo process, heresay evidence can be used, and will be used, by the court to impose an order. A breach carries a maximum sentence of five years custody.