22-year-old man prosecuted for controlling and coercive behaviour on girlfriend


Harley Smith, 22, from Portsmouth was sentenced on 27 July 2017 at Portsmouth Crown Court to 12 weeks' imprisonment suspended for 12 weeks for controlling and coercive behaviour and four weeks' imprisonment suspended for 12 weeks for assault by beating. A restraining order was also put in place forbidding any form of contact with Chelsea Bush, 22, from Portsmouth.

Tim Cole, Senior District Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Wessex said: "This case is a clear example of controlling and coercive behaviour. Harley Smith was fully aware that Chelsea Bush was a vulnerable young woman and he took advantage of this to exercise continuous control on her. His controlling and coercive behaviour included restricting her access to her own bank account, limiting her contact with her family and friends, having full control of her phone, checking her phone logs and forbidding her to use her phone outside their flat.

"He also chose her clothes and underwear saying that he wanted a woman not a girl. Chelsea did not want to wear the clothes he selected but did so through fear of him as she felt that she had no choice. One day, she could not find the underwear he wanted her to wear and as a result he hit her hard in the face, causing a black eye accusing her of having thrown them out.

"Chelsea was made to cook for him every day but was not allowed to go shopping on her own. His controlling nature seemed to have no limits as he even accompanied her into a job interview. She did not get the job.

"When, according to his claims, she got into debt, he tried to coerce her into prostitution.

"Harley Smith was arrested thanks to Chelsea's grand-mothers who called the police when they saw that their grand-daughter could not escape from the mental power that Harley Smith had on her.

"People who are subject to controlling and coercive behaviour by their partners or spouse are victims of domestic abuse. In this case there was also physical violence but in some other cases the abuse is purely mental. The CPS takes very seriously cases where there is evidence of controlling and coercive and our prosecutors in addition to the Code for Crown Prosecutors consider carefully our legal guidance when prosecuting such cases."

Notes to editors

Harley Smith and Chelsea Bush were in a two-year relationship and the coercive and controlling offence was committed during the period 30/12/2015 - 30/06/2016.

The assault by beating took place between 02/05/2016 and 18/06/2016.