A man has been jailed after he is thought to be one of the first in the country to breach a new order designed to protect victims of domestic violence.
Neil Hanson. who is suffering from cancer, was among the first in Kirklees to be handed the Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO).
The order came into force across the country only three months ago and is so new that magistrates do not yet have proper guidelines for dealing with offenders who breach it.
The order gives police new powers to safeguard victims in the immediate aftermath of incidents of domestic abuse.
Hanson was issued with the DVPO by Kirklees magistrates on September 11.
Police successfully applied for the civil order at the Huddersfield court.
This was following an incident at the home the 53-year-old shared with his wife Georgina at Belmont Close in Highfields.
On September 9 officers attended at the address in response to reports of domestic violence there.
Their relationship had been ‘punctuated’ with similar incidents, the court heard.
Mrs Hanson seemed to have injuries and reportedly told a neighbour that she had been assaulted.
Hanson was arrested and released without charge.
However, police attended court and successfully applied for the DVPO.
Hanson’s solicitor, Neil Murphy, told magistrates: “Police felt this was a case that warranted this interim measure designed to protect those who can’t protect themselves.
“These orders are useful where there’s instances of domestic violence and the victim has time to avail themselves of help of the various agencies.”
The order lasts for 28 days and bans Hanson from going to his home, evicting his wife from that address or molesting her.
This time is meant to allow the victim a level of breathing space to consider their options and get the necessary help and support from the relevant agencies.
But Hanson, currently of no fixed address, went to his home just six days after the order was made.
Police found him there watching TV and he was arrested for breaching the order.
An officer told the court she had concerns that the start of the work that partner agencies had begun with Mrs Hanson may be disrupted following the incident.
Mr Murphy told magistrates: “There’s no case law in relation to how you can deal with this.
“The order is designed as an interim measure and is not a conviction.
“His partner was unwell and he decided to go round – there’s no evidence of any intimidation or threats.”
Mr Murphy added that his client, who has pancreatic cancer, is currently homeless and has been sleeping on park benches.
When sentencing Hanson, magistrates were referred to a breach of a non-molestation order before it became a criminal offence as guidance.
They jailed Hanson for two weeks.
Because the case is a civil matter he will serve the whole term.