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Husband who called ex-wife 'slapper' in text after she left him for boss has criminal conviction upheld; Paul Lang was charged and found guilty of harassment for the texts he sent to Lorna Land after their 22-year relationship ended.

Byline: James Brewster

A husband has been left with a criminal record after calling his ex-wife a "slapper" when she left him for her boss.

Paul Lang, 40, sent a series of texts to family, friends and one of his wife Lorna's work colleagues using the term.

He also said her lover was "old enough to be her granddad".

Lang was charged and convicted of harassment by magistrates in Bromley, south London, who said his behaviour had been "oppressive and unreasonable".

Challenging his conviction at the High Court this week, Mr Lang's lawyer Leigh Webber said his client had been desperate to "give his side of the story".

After a relationship lasting 22 years, and 13 years of marriage, Mr Lang was understandably "both upset and angry at the discovery".

The couple had split by October 2015 but Mr Lang fired off the texts over three days in August 2016 after learning of his wife's office relationship.

Mr Webber told the High Court: "He did not always use polite or neutral language, and even insulted her, referring to her as a slapper."

But he added: "The focus of this appeal is the extent to which one can express oneself in a highly emotionally charged situation."

Some of the texts were "objectionable", but Mr Webber insisted Mr Lang had "not crossed the line" into criminal behaviour.

At one point, he messaged his estranged wife directly, telling her she "had no shame" and "made him feel sick".

And the final text, in which he branded his wife a "slapper", was sent to one of her female colleagues.

Mr Webber said the texts were Mr Lang's reaction to "the discovery that a spouse of 20 years has been having an affair and that the marriage is over".

The messages were not a "barrage", did not threaten or intimidate, and were part of Mr Lang's understandable emotional response, he argued.

"This behaviour is so firmly within the normal private sphere that, regardless of the discomfiting effect it may have had, it does not warrant the intervention of the court to impose criminal conviction and punishment,"Mr Webber added.

The magistrates, however, accepted Mrs Lang's evidence that she had been left "scared" and "frightened" by the texts.

"Lorna Lang had formed a new relationship and Mr Lang did not react well to this," they found.

The texts had not been "sent in a moment of madness or drunkenness" and Mr Lang had no intention to put his wife in fear of violence.

But some of the texts were "nasty" and describing her as a "slapper" to someone she worked with would have been "very distressing".

Convicting him, the magistrates ruled: "Mr Lang had made a deliberate attempt to undermine Lorna Lang in her relationship with family, friends and workmates.

"He wanted to cause her embarrassment, alarm and distress and indeed had done so.

"We found that his behaviour was both oppressive and unreasonable."

Mr Lang was handed an 18-month community sentence.

Ruling on his appeal, Lord Justice Treacy said: "Some might think this conduct fell short of criminality."

But the magistrates were entitled to find him guilty of "a course of conduct which amounted to harassment", he added.

They had applied the law correctly, their findings were "not unreasonable" and the judge concluded: "This appeal must fail."



Paul Lang


Mr Lang lost hid bid to have his conviction overturned at the High Court
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Title Annotation:News,UK News
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 13, 2017
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