In person for the appellant; Christopher Brown (instructed by Thompson & Co) for the respondent. Legal profession – Course of conduct – Defence statements – Harassment X had previously worked for D as an assistant solicitor. During that period D had had clients whose legal fees had been guaranteed by an individual (B). X ceased his employment with D and later ran his own firm. D issued proceedings against B under the guarantee and B instructed X to act for him in those proceedings. Within the following month D wrote three letters to X alleging a conflict of interests and acts of impropriety by X and questioning his motivation for acting for B. The third letter made allegations of illegality and impropriety by an individual with whom X had previously run a partnership. X made a claim under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. D served a defence in which they made further allegations against X including of bigamy and forging a statement of truth. X’s claim was later struck out. On appeal the judge found that: the third letter was arguably capable of being described as harassing but that it was only one instance and so did not form a course of conduct; the defence did not amount to an occasion of harassment, partly because the cause of action had to be established as at the date of the claim form and what was said in the defence occurred thereafter; a partnership could not be a ‘person’ within the meaning of the act. The instant court was required to determine: (i) the difference between the third letter and the first two letters; (ii) whether, even if the first two letters by themselves were not capable of constituting harassment, they could amount, together with the third letter, to a ‘course of conduct’ within the meaning of the act; (iii) whether the defence could be relied upon as evidencing a course of conduct and whether it mattered that the defence post-dated the claim form; (iv) whether a partnership could be a defendant to a civil action under section 3 of the act. Held: (1) The three letters, particularly when viewed in light of each other, and especially the last two, arguably amounted to a deliberate attack on X’s professional and personal integrity, in an attempt to pressurise him, by his exposure to his client, the court or both, into declining to act for B or else advising B to meet D’s demands. Each letter, when considered side by side, arguably evidenced a campaign of harassment against X. They were arguably capable of causing alarm or distress and were arguably unreasonable, or genuinely offensive and unacceptable. Where a professional man’s integrity was deliberately and wrongly attacked, a potential claim lay under the act, Thomas v News Group Newspapers Ltd  EWCA Civ 1233,  EMLR 4 and Majrowski v Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Trust  UKHL 34, (2007) 1 AC 224 considered (see paragraphs 41-42 of judgment). (2) The act was concerned with courses of conduct that amounted to harassment, rather than with individual instances of harassment. The course of conduct had to amount to harassment, both objectively and in terms of the required mens rea. The judge therefore erred in failing to ask himself, in light of his finding as to the third letter, whether the three letters as a whole could amount to a relevant course of conduct, Kelly v DPP  EWHC 1428 (Admin),  166 JP 621 considered (paragraphs 45, 51). (3) X could refer to the defence as throwing evidential light on the proper understanding, interpretation and assessment of the letters. If it was doubtful that they arguably amounted to a course of conduct amounting to harassment the question could be looked at with the evidential assistance of the defence. For those purposes it did not matter that the defence post-dated the claim form. Further, in as much as X sought to rely on the defence as a second occasion making up a course of conduct, the judge erred in excluding it from consideration because it occurred after the claim form. That was a rule of practice, rather than a rule of law, and it could be departed from when the justice of the case required. Under the act a victim could seek an injunction before a course of conduct had been established if they could show a suitable case of fear of such a course of conduct. That was part of what X sought to do. In those circumstances it was profitless and harsh to force a claimant back to the issue of a further claim form where a defendant provided a further occasion making up a course of conduct amounting to harassment in the course of proceedings (paragraphs 52-53). (4) There was no reason why ‘person’ in section 3 should not be given its natural meaning, Majrowski considered. Therefore, a partnership could be a defendant to a civil action under that section (paragraph 63). Appeal allowed. The appellant (X) appealed against a decision upholding the striking out of his claim of harassment made against the respondent firm of solicitors (D).
President Trump, third from left, is shown with Border Patrol and Texas officials as he visits the Rio Grande Valley Thursday. Also shown is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), fifth from left.(Yulied Botello/Telemundo/Courtesy photo)By DAVID LOPEZSpecial to the PRESSMcAllen — Hundreds of protestors and an almost equal amount of supporters lined the roadway leading to McAllen–Miller International Airport Thursday as Air Force One carrying President Donald Trump, his staff and the White House traveling press corps landed on the tarmac at precisely 12:50 p.m. Thursday afternoon.The president visited the U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station where he participated in a roundtable discussion on immigration and border security, as well as Anzalduas Park, a 96-acre county-owned park along the Rio Grande known for its rich wildlife.The park is one of several public spaces which are expected to be severely impacted should the government follow through on construction of the border wall championed by the Trump administration.Trump’s arrival comes after a government shutdown entered its third week. The shutdown stems from a disagreement between Republicans and Democrats on funding for Trump’s proposed border wall. The president has said that he will veto any bill that does not include an estimated $5.7 billion for the wall, though Democrats remain staunchly opposed to wall funding. According to reports, 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or are working without pay and will not receive their next paychecks until the government reopens.During a televised address to the nation on Tuesday, Jan. 9, the president urged the public to support further border security through building a wall. “America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation. But, all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration,” Trump said during his televised address. He argued that illegal immigration places a strain on jobs, wages and resources.On Thursday, Trump arrived in McAllen accompanied by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), as well as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.“I join President Trump in McAllen today and I truly appreciate him coming to Texas to underscore the crisis at the southern border and immediate urgency of his border security plan. It is time for his opponents to put aside the partisan games and address this very real crisis. The president’s comprehensive plan to build a wall where it is needed, along with additional funding for narcotics detection, additional detention beds and additional immigration judges to handle the deluge of asylum applications and immigration cases, is critical to Texas and the country and Congress should act immediately to fund it,” Patrick said via a prepared statement.“Illegal immigration costs Texas taxpayers billions of dollars every year in healthcare, education and law enforcement as well as direct spending on border security. In 2018 alone, over 500,000 illegal aliens were apprehended crossing the border illegally — 300,000 of those were in Texas. Law enforcement experts confirm that these numbers represent only 20-25 percent of the people entering our country illegally,” the lieutenant governor continued.Trump’s arrival was met with myriad supporters and protesters, both groups gathered outside of La Plaza Mall close to the airport hours prior to the President’s arrival.Trump supporters from the McAllen and the surrounding Rio Grande Valley gathered hours before the president’s arrival at McAllen–Miller International Airport on Thursday, Jan. 10. (David Lopez | Courtesy photo)Donna resident Rosario Zavala described illegal immigration as her top issue. “I am here because I support Donald Trump 110 percent. He is the only one that has come across and done what needs to be done. He didn’t need this headache; he’s a rich man. He’s doing it because he loves the country,” Zavala said. “Have you seen the people here? There’s nothing but illegals. And they get all the freebies. They get food stamps, they get healthcare, and we get heck.”Zavala was one of the president’s many supporters, while across the street stood an equal and opposite reaction.Bianca Castro, a University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley student and organizer with the RGV No Border Wall movement, talked about the importance of showing opposition. “It’s important that we show up and show out for our raza (people) because they are who make up our community, and the community must unite as a class,” she said. “It’s important to tell those who think this place is a crime zone and that we are less than human that we will not let our voices be silenced,” she said.Hundreds of locals lined the streets near the airport to protest the president’s visit and the border wall. (David Lopez | Courtesy photo)According to FBI statistics, McAllen ranks seventh among safest US cities — a point McAllen’s historic Cine El Rey theater, located in downtown McAllen, spelled out on its outside marquee prior to the president’s visit.During his roundtable briefing with border agents, Trump was shown how traffickers have tunneled under the wall lining the border area which was erected under former President George H.W. Bush, as part of the national response to 9/11. “This is just a couple of miles from here. This is a tunnel,” the agent explained while pointing to photographs of the tunnel.“This is the second tunnel we recently have located. This is an area that actually has wall and we have some technology and agents. That piece of area is really important to the criminal organization. We’re doing such a great job utilizing the right resource in that area that they’ve become so frustrated that they’re using other tactics. They’re actually digging tunnels. This is about 25 feet long, about two to three feet high,” he said.Trump also visited the Rio Grande at Anzalduas Park where he was briefed on border security while standing alongside border patrol officials and local law enforcement.“They’ve done an incredible job, but we all want to see a wall, a barrier, because it’s going to make their job a lot easier and hopefully they’ll be more effective than they already are. They’re doing record setting work but it’s hard and it’s dangerous. We can save so many lives. We can save the drugs, the human trafficking, all of the things that pour into our country. It’s so terrible when you look — gangs, MS–13. It won’t happen. They’ll (law enforcement) will be helped so much,” Trump said.The president departed from McAllen for Washington D.C. at approximately 4 p.m.Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here. RelatedBallet Folklórico to tour RGV through FebruarySpecial to the Parade The Ballet Folklórico of the University of Texas-Pan American will tour the Rio Grande Valley in January and February presenting their ALEGRIA Temporada 2013 concerts in McAllen, Harlingen and Brownsville. The Ballet’s former performance venue, the UTPA Fine Arts Auditorium, is under demolition to make way…January 17, 2013In “South Padre Parade”Local professor testifies before CongressBy KEVIN RICH Special to the PRESS Laguna Vista resident Dr. Terence Garrett, professor and chair of the Public Affairs and Security Studies Department at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was one of three expert witnesses who provided testimony in a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on the topic…April 7, 2017In “News”REUNITED: Separated nearly a month, Honduran woman, son together againDunia, who came to the United States fleeing violence in Honduras, wipes tears from her eyes after being reunited with her 5-year-old son, Wuilman, at the Brownsville – South Padre Island International Airport last Friday. Dina Arévalo | Staff photographer Editor’s Note: To jump to Part 2 of this story, click here.…July 27, 2018In “News” Share