Harpenden doctor fined for abusing neighbour

PUBLISHED: 16:03 18 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:27 06 May 2010

A RETIRED doctor was found guilty by magistrates on Monday of a public order offence during which he called his neighbour a slut . Dr Anthony Hall, 73, of Manland Avenue, Harpenden had pleaded not guilty to using threatening and abusive language likely

A RETIRED doctor was found guilty by magistrates on Monday of a public order offence during which he called his neighbour "a slut".

Dr Anthony Hall, 73, of Manland Avenue, Harpenden had pleaded not guilty to using threatening and abusive language likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to Michele Morgan-Miller.

Mrs Morgan-Miller told St Albans Magistrates Court that she was cycling along Manland Avenue with her eight-year old son in the late afternoon on February 27 when the incident happened.

Her son was cycling on the pavement next to her on the road when she saw Hall coming towards them in a purposeful manner.

He told her it was against the law to cycle on the pavement but she said her son was too young to cycle on the road.

She said: "He then called me a slut which upset me and shook me up especially as we do not use that use that type of language in front of our son."

Her son then asked her what the word "slut" meant which she found very difficult to answer.

When they got home she phoned her husband who told her to call the police.

Police later interviewed Hall who admitted calling Mrs Morgan-Miller "a slut" but disputed the fact that she had been cycling on the road. He said she and her son had been cycling on the path and he felt he was at risk of being run over.

Hall, who defended himself, said he did not consider the word "slut" to be offensive or obscene and would not have used it if he had realised it was a breach of the law.

He said: "What I should have said was 'You are a criminal'"

He alleged Mrs Miller "hated" him and had called him a "bizarre anti-social misfit who wore a cricket helmet when he was driving his car" and that she was "making a mountain out of a molehill".

Hall denied Mrs Miller was frightened of him and claimed she had brought the case to get at him.

He said: "I am no threat to Mrs Miller and her son. If I see them cycling on the pavement again I shall duck down out of the way."

But magistrates chairman Roger Stephens said: "As an educated man you would know that the word slut implies a woman of loose morals."

Finding him guilty of the offence, he fined him £350, ordering him to pay £620 costs and pay a £15 victim surcharge.

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