Guilty or Not Guilty is easy to understand, and I am uncomfortable with the idea of : 'Well, not-guilty-but there's-no-smoke-without-fire-so here's-a restraining-order-just-in-case'.
But sometimes, especially in domestic violence cases, the evidence does point towards there being a continuing possibility of violence, and at that point the Order becomes tempting.
Earlier this year I found myself chairing three consecutive cases in each of which there was a prima facie argument for a Restraining Order (not put forward by the CPS might I add, but by yours truly). When it dawned on CPS Counsel that an RO was in our minds he grabbed at the merciful relief of the lunch adjournment to look it up.
And as ever, it wasn't that simple. Our first-class clerk found and printed the case of Kapotra, a recent judgment that even a layman such as I can more or less grasp. I recommend those who work in the system to have a look at it, because as so often happens the enthusiasm of ministers and their advisers is tempered and moderated by cool heads in the higher courts. Para 14 lays down:
Even if he (the judge - ed) was minded to exercise the discretion open to him under Rule 50.9, that judgment itself had to bear in mind the fundamental principle underlying these rules namely that any person faced with the possible imposition of a restraining order should be given proper notice of what is sought, the evidential basis for the application and, in addition, be allowed a proper opportunity to address the evidence and make informed representations as to the appropriateness of such an order. Thus, if the trial judge contemplates making such an order in relation to a defendant immediately following a trial (whatever the result of that trial), provided his or her representative has had the opportunity specifically to address all relevant issues, then consideration can properly be given to exercising the discretion contained in Rule 50.9. Where, as here, no evidence has been offered and there is no established evidential basis for the order, different considerations apply.So yes, we can make a order, but not on the hoof. It requires proper consideration and the opportunity for argument, so it will need an adjournment. And in today's straitened times, many a bench will decide to just leave it - as we did.