A High Court in London made legal history when it banned two Birmingham-based men, aged 27 and 31, who were suspected of sexual predation, from approaching girls under the age of 18. This was facilitated by the use of a civil injunction in lieu of a criminal hearing proceeding which made it easier to penalise the men's actions more specifically and immediately.
Police saw a 17 year-old girl leaving the men's vehicle, a Nissan Micra, at around 3am in the morning in an intoxicated state where they fled the scene as the officers approached. Though the men, yet unnamed, claimed they were offering the victim “a ride for her safety”, Mr Justice Keehan ruled that it was clear they were talking “palpable nonsense” and that they had invited the girl into the car “for nefarious purposes”.
“I am quite satisfied on the totality of the evidence that they were seeking to sexually exploit this young and vulnerable woman,”he said, drawing from the evidence of seductive text messages and a half-empty bottle of vodka found in their Nissan.
This is exactly the sort of circumstance that would fall short of a criminal conviction, but ticks the box for a civil injunction. The judge said that though the men did not engage the teenage girl in sexual behaviour, they would have been likely to do so in the future.
The injunction is revolutionary in the protection of young women as courts begin to apply it across the country. If social orders are breached perpetrators will face jail for contempt of the court.