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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Ive been issued with a witness summons for a prosecution case

Customer Question

Ive been issued with a witness summons for a prosecution case at a magistrate course. if i do not attend what are the likely consequences?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Is this a domestic by any chance?

Also, I notice you haven't yet rated a previous answer so I would be grateful if you could do that now.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


no its a traffic law

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Ok.

Whats the background?

Whats happened?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I gave a statement to police regarding a traffic accident some time ago. the police asked me a few questions and didnt tell me that id have to give evidence in court. due to my statement the case has gone to court driving without due care and leaving the scene. i dont want to give evidence at court and the police refused to retract my statement. im a key witness.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


??

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Why do you not want to give evidence?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


its just id rather not go to court. i just want to know the likely consequence. if i need to go then i will. thanks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

OK. Sorry for the delay. I lost my internet connection.

I have to say that I'm very surprised they have summonsed you for offending of this kind. Generally speaking that is preserved for domestics and very serious grave offences. I suppose they are getting excited with the new power.

In any event, failing to answer a summons is a contempt of court. Its pretty rare they prosecute anybody for contempt but then you do need to take on board the fact that its mostly victims who commit that offence and you cannot curry sympathy in quite the same way. You are a witness rather than a victim and at greater risk. Contempt of Court does carry 3 months custody but you wouldn't get that even if you were prosecuted.

Most likely though, if they are going to take any action they will seek a witness warrant for your arrest and try to pick you up before the trial to give evidence.

You do need to check the documents you've received carefully though. If this is just a notice to attend then you may not be on a summons and you are free to refuse then.

There is a debate over whether attending court and refusing to give evidence amounts to a contempt. NObody can force you into the witness box. Probably it is a contempt but its very unlikely they would prosecute it.

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