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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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It is possible my son will be charged with GBH. It seems as

Customer Question

It is possible my son will be charged with GBH. It seems as though he hit someone after being held by one and hit by another two. The guy suffered a broken cheak bone, but he said it was self defence. Should he plead guilty and explain the situation on being sentenced, or plead not not guilty and take his chances in court?

Thank you
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
How long after?

Will they give evidence against him?

What does his solicitor say ? I'm sure he would have had the solicitor that the police offered him at the police station ?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Is this his first offence?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

To free himself I think


Possibly.. because he hasn't actually been charged he has no information.


 


He has not heard from the solicitor since the arrest as he hasn't actually been charged. It seems a long time to be on bail

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Four months is not really an unusual length of time to be on bail given the severity of the offence.

In terms of pleading guilty, you are underestimating the seriousness of this situation. If this is a S20 GBH then he will be incredibly lucky to avoid several years custody even on a plea. The Court could say he is a dangerous offender and give him even longer. This is not a walk in the park.

Of course, it might be that he has to plead to something but its not something that should be done without very careful consideration of the evidence and his options.

If they can get evidence to go to court then probably this is bottom end GBH to top end ABH. If its just a broken cheek bone then personally I would have charged it as an ABH. You can still get custody for that but not so long.

If he is saying that he only struck him to escape then that is a self defence argument. Whether he struck him too hard to form the basis of self defence will be a trial issue but there is case law that says that a man under attack is not expected to weigh to a nicety the exact amount of force required.

I suspect the real issue will be whether he was acting to release himself or just to punish another person for his actions.

If the complainants will not give evidence and the Crown have CCTV then it will probably drop down to an affray.

Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you have and I have a duty to give you truthful and accurate information even though its not what I want to say.

Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. I do realise this is very serious and that is why I am trying to determine the best approach. my son also knows this is very serious and as there were 5 against 2 and it seems they started the trouble, he is feeling very aggreived. I do not want him to waste the last 4 years


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Yes, it is serious but don't confuse serious offences with strong evidence.

The police always arrest for the most serious offence they can.

It might well all turn into a very weak case as even on the face of it there is a self defence argument.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Let's hope so. I am worried sick and not sure where to turn right now


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
If he's been rebailed several times then they might well have evidential problems.

If the CCTV does show him being restrained just as he struck out then that supports self defence.

Truth is though, even if it shows that he acted in anger rather than in self defence its always good mitigation that the complainant was perfectly willing to fight.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It appears that there were 5 guys and my son was with a friend. The 2 of them were picked up walking home and admitted they had been in a fight. If there was no CCTV evidence, on the basis of the injury, could they both be charged anyway. They have both been bailed.Can any of the 5 be witnesses if they were involved?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Well, in legal theory they could but they wouldn't do that. If its just the evidence of these 5 alone then they would have significant problems.

If there is evidence from others that these 5 were involved in a fight then most likely they will drop down under the public order act probably to violent disorder if there were 5.

The only exception is where the Crown say that one side was attacking the other and the other was acting in self defence. Charging standards are very inconsistent on that point really.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So really, until he attends the police station next week, there is not much he can do to prepare himself, other understanding the potential serious nature of the incident..which de does.Thank you

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
No, but then criminal defence doesn't really work in that way. Generally speaking there is no action that you can take that makes criminal investigations go away. There are some exceptions but they mostly arise where people have cast iron alibis or can produce, for example, insurance certificates to prove they were insured. This isn't such a case. This type of case is best defended by shaking away at the prosecution case until reasonable doubt is created.