A dad jailed for going to his ex’s home in breach of a restraining order lost his bid to reduce his sentence.
Phillip Harper, 45, was given 20 weeks’ imprisonment after he admitted going to the woman’s house in Littlemore. The offence was committed while he was subject to a 12-week suspended sentence imposed for delivering Easter eggs to his daughter in breach of the restraining order.
Nawaz Khan, for Harper, told Oxford Crown Court that the magistrates who activated the suspended sentence earlier this month had been wrong to consider his client had ‘no motivation in complying’ with the court order.
He had, in fact, been offered no opportunity to complete unpaid work or the Building Better Relationships domestic violence course, as the probation service had not been able to get him a place on the course or start him on community service.
And Mr Khan said the relationship between his client and the victim was more complicated than it first appeared.
“The complainant or the subject of this restraint order has herself had contact with the defendant when she wishes to but then reports him when it doesn’t suit her,” the solicitor claimed.
Judge Nigel Daly, sitting alongside two magistrates, threw out the appeal. His sentence of 20 weeks’ imprisonment remained unchanged.
The judge warned Harper: “I will say this to you now; next time you might get sent to the crown court. And if you are sent to the crown court for this you will be looking at five years as a minimum sentence.”
Prosecutor Edward Culver told the court that Harper and his former partner shared a two-year-old daughter.
On Friday, June 3, during the long Platinum Jubilee weekend, the defendant was said to have gone to his ex’s home uninvited and started knocking on her front door. She did not open the door, having seen him through the spy hole.
Mr Culver said Harper then went to Railway Lane, at the back of the property, and began shouting. He was arrested in the lane by the police. Although he answered no comment in his interview, he earlier claimed to the officers that he was being ‘set-up’ by his ex, who he said ‘keeps phoning me’.
The former partner was said to have told police officers she ‘did not want anything to do with him’. However, a neighbour, who did not want to help the police, claimed that the woman ‘regularly’ called Harper to the house to help with childcare.
Harper, of Grebe Close, Oxford, pleaded guilty at the first hearing to breach of a restraining order. Mr Khan said his client had been due to see his daughter on June 3, but his ex failed to appear.
This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.
To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk
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