Hartlepool woman speaks out over judge's decision against her abusive ex-boyfriend

Lauren Smith.
Lauren Smith.

A judge has provoked fury by ruling that a woman terrorised by her violent boyfriend was too “strong and capable” to be under his control.

Paul Measor, 35, subjected ex-partner Lauren Smith to daily abuse, teaching their one-year-old son to tell her to swear and call her names.

Lauren, 24, recorded nine of Measor’s vile rants, which were played to a court.

But District Judge Helen Cousins acquitted him of using controlling and coercive behaviour.

She called Measor’s actions “disgrace­­ful” but ruled they did not have a “serious effect” on Lauren’s life.

The decision prompted Women’s Aid to call for judges to be sent for training on the Serious Crime Act 2015.

The judge had said: “I have to be satisfied the behaviour was controlling, coercive and had a serious effect on the victim. There’s no doubt the victim is a strong and capable woman.

“It is to her credit that I cannot find his behaviour had a serious effect on her in context of the guidelines.”

But Lauren, a schools learning man­­ager, said: “I didn’t feel the judge really grasped what I had been through.

“It doesn’t matter if a woman is capable or not if they are subjected to that kind of behaviour.”

Katie Ghose, of Women’s Aid, added: “No judge should base a judgement in a domestic abuse case on whether a victim matches their stereotype of what a victim should act like.”

A spokesman for the judiciary said: “We cannot comment on specific cases but judges consider all the evidence before them and sentence according to the relevant guidelines. Where there is dispute over this, an appeal can made.

“In order to protect judicial independence, training never seeks to direct that judges should always arrive at certain outcomes where an independent decision is possible. There has been considerable training for judges and magistrates in domestic abuse.

"Coercive and controlling behaviour are addressed on an ongoing basis as part of the Judicial College’s regular training.”

Measor, of Hart­­­­­le­­­pool, was found guilty of assaulting her and jailed for five months by Judge Cousins.