An application for an anti-social behaviour order was remitted to the district judge for consideration as to whether it was proved to the criminal standard that the respondent's conduct, considered on its own or in conjunction with that of other street prostitutes, had caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to others within the meaning of s.1(1)(a) Crime and Disorder Act 1998.Appeal by the Chief Constable of Lancashire ('CCL'), by way of case stated, from the decision of Deputy District Judge Alan Lloyd Jones dismissing the CCL's application for an anti-social behaviour order under s.1(1) Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The order was sought against the respondent ('P') in relation to her activities as a street prostitute in certain residential areas of Preston between February and April 2002. The CCL applied to the magistrates' court for an anti-social behaviour order to restrict her activities. The judge found that there was a problem with street prostitution in the relevant areas and that P's conduct in loitering and soliciting contributed to the problem. However the judge held that P's conduct could not be aggregated with that of other prostitutes, some of whom were involved in "aggravated conduct", and that it had not been proved to the criminal standard that P's activities caused or were likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress within the meaning of s.1(1)(a) of the Act. The CCL appealed, arguing that the judge should have found it proved that P's conduct was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.HELD: (1) In the context, the meaning of "likely" was "more probable than not" (Parkin v Norman (1983) QB 92 followed). (2) The likelihood had to be proved to the criminal standard (R v Manchester Crown Court, ex parte McCann (2003) 1 AC 787). The district judge applied that standard incorrectly. (3) Street prostitution in residential areas was clearly capable of causing or being likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to others in the area. It was a question of fact whether any individual prostitute, by her contribution to that activity and its overall effect, was caught by s.1(1)(a). Proof of such a fact need not depend on the attribution to her of the "aggravated conduct" of other prostitutes that might, considered on its own, constitute harassment, alarm or distress. The judge erred in law and in his findings of fact when applying s.1(1)(a) to P's conduct. (4) Not all prostitution on the streets of a residential area fell foul of the Act, especially when the conduct relied on was that of a single prostitute or a small number of prostitutes, or where there was no significant concentration of activities in a particular area. However, in this case it was difficult to understand the judge's conclusion on his findings that P's conduct had not at least been likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. (5) The case was remitted to the judge to consider whether it was proved to the relevant standard that P's conduct, whether considered on its own or in conjunction with that of other street prostitutes, had caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to others.Appeal allowed.
 EWHC 2272 (Admin)