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  • Writer's pictureRobert Spicer

Controlling and coercive behaviour: new case


Elements of offence

Case R v Chilvers (2021) The times, December 9, Court of Appeal

Facts C was charged with an offence of controlling or coercive behaviour under section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015. The indictment included the following acts:

· Using or threatening physical violence

· Forcing the complainant to eat his hair

· Controlling and dictating forceful and/or degrading sexual acts

· Threatening to prevent the complainant having access to her only child

· Using verbally abusive or demeaning names

· Belittling her with reference to her family, friends and job

· Making intrusive inquiries and demands for information from her regarding her whereabouts or persons with whom she had contact

· Isolating her and restricting access to her friends

· Controlling and restricting her finances.

C was convicted and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. He appealed to the Court of Appeal.

Decision 1. The appeal was dismissed.

2. The task of the jury was to evaluate the whole of the evidence and to decide whether it was controlling or coercive in the light of that evidence.

3. The jury did not have to be unanimous as to which particular kind or kinds of controlling or coercive behaviour they were satisfied had been established.

4. The actus reus of the offence was C’s repeated engagement in behaviour towards the complainant which was controlling or coercive

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