Dad avoids jail after breaching restraining order with Merry Christmas message

A dad has avoided being jailed for twice breaching a restraining order and contacting his former partner.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 7:00 am
South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Liam Craggs, 33, of Pontop Square, Ford Estate, Sunderland, was warned this was his ‘last chance’ when he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Magistrates heard that Craggs contacted his son via his former partner’s social media account on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

It put him in breach of an indefinite restraining order, imposed at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court on June 8, 2016, after an assault on her.

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In the messages, Craggs did not threaten his ex or reveal any intention to visit her home, it was said.

Prosecutor Leanne Duffy said: “The defendant is subject to a life-long order.

“He breached the order by sending WhatsApp messages on December 25 and December 31.

“The messages were to ask how his son was and to wish him a Happy Christmas and New Year.”

The court heard he also breached a Suspended Sentence Order (SSO) by not complying with a requirement to keep appointments with the Probation Service on June 6 and August 21 last year.

The order was imposed by a court on November 2, 2018, after he pleaded guilty to two assaults against the same woman.

He also avoided jail on that occasion and was given sentences of 26 weeks and 20 weeks, to run concurrently and suspended for two years.

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In his latest court appearance, he was sentenced after already pleading guilty to two breaches of the restraining order and two breaches of the SSO.

Chris Wilson, defending, told magistrates: “He knows as well as you that this is his last chance.

“There’s now a structure to his life, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. In terms of the breach, it was low level.”

Craggs was fined £200 for the SSO breaches, and given a two-year community order for the restraining order breaches.

The community order requires him to complete 40 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service.

He must also undertake the Building Better Relationships programme and do 60 hours of unpaid work, and there was a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

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