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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69362
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My partner and I were involved in a domestic incident. He pushed

Customer Question

My partner and I were involved in a domestic incident. He pushed me and at the time I was under the inluence of alcohol when I gave a statement. I have withdrawn my statement but he still has to go to court. He have sorted this between us and I would like to prevent him being prosecuted. What can I do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
HI.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

In order to give you answer tailored to your circumstances I will need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

Is this the first time the police have been called?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Hi Jo, no the police havent been called before. I did sustain an injury but I think I fell backwards.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

What was the injury?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


It was a red mark but I didnt allow them to photograph it. The mobile phone he threw of mine we thought was broken, but it seems ok now. He has been charged with section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, and also Criminal Damage. I made it very clear in my statement I did not want this to go further but apparently it is with the CPS now and he has a court date for 3rd of June.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

The short answer is that you cannot just not press charges but there are things that you can do about this.

If you have made a statement then the case is no longer yours. A statement is just evidence like any other. It does not have to be in written form. Even a oral declaration to a police officer is evidence. Once evidence is obtained by the Crown you cannot withdraw it from them.

What you can do is tell the prosecution that you don't want to support any further prosecution. This is where the complication lights.

I realise that the background to this has nothing to do with you and is not of your creation but it might help you to understand the position.

Traditionally when complainants said that they were reluctant the prosecution was dropped. That has encouraged abuse from some sections of society.

Sadly, genuine victims of domestic abuse are not the only people who do call the police to domestic incidents. Some people, and it's not only women, seem to use the police as a mediation service and call them to almost every argument in the house. Also, some people make reports to the police knowing that they never intended to give evidence but just to get their partner out of the house for the evening.

This has led to understandable frustration amongst police officers. To deal with that they have turned to a policy of summonsing a reluctant witness.

They do not summons in every case. It's fair to say that sometimes people are allowed to withdraw. On the face of it, there would appear to be a justification for withdrawing here. The injuries were not grave and the police have not been called before. There was no other significant aggravation.

However, there are some CPS reviewers who are militant, or just fail to consider the case properly, and will summons in circumstances where they should not.

If they do summons then you will have to think about what you want to do. Failing to answer a summons is a contempt of court in principle although it would not be prosecuted. I've only ever seen one prosecution for contempt arising from failing to answer a summons and that involved a person who has been a real drain on police resources.

What they might do is issue a witness warrant for your arrest to put you before the court to give evidence. There is about a 1% chance of that happening. That is preserved for people who are very well known to the constabulary.

In any event, there is a bit of a debate over whether or not attending court and refusing to give evidence amounts to a contempt. I have to say that I do not think that it does. The summons binds you to attend the courthouse building. It does not force you to go into the witness box and, unless you are in breach of a court order there is no contempt of court. For what it's worth, I prosecute fairly regularly and if a witness just refuses to go into the witness box I have no means of forcing them to do so.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thank you. Are there any ways we can prevent these charges against him? And what do we do to do that so that he doesnt have to attend court?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Well, really only what I suggested above.

There's no other additional action you can take I'm afraid
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Hi have not been asked to attend court to give evidence. He has been told to go. I didnt fully understand what the actions you suggested I need to do

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No, you won't be. It will just be for first appearance in June.

You will be asked to attend the trial and potentially summonsed if you don't.

I cannot tell you what to do I'm afraid. There are no magic wands that will make this go away. What you could do is tell them you don't want to support a prosecution. They might let you withdraw. They may not.

I'm really sorry but I have to give you truthful information and there just isn't a risk free solution.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thank you for your help. Just one more thing, what would be the likey outcome of a situation like this if it does end up still proceding?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
It depends if you go to court.

If are you summonsed to attend the trial and you don't then, despite what could happen, the chances are they would get one adjournment for a second trial date.

They would use the time to phone you and pester you to attend court. You don't have to take their calls.

if you don't attend on a second occasion then they would throw their hand in.

The practical reality is that they are not going to prosecute you for contempt. It wouldn't be appropriate. They are very unlikely to get a witness warrant for this so there isn't much chance of anything happening. They will not tell you that necessarily but thats the reality.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


What could happen to my partner?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Unless he has admitted the offence or they have other evidence he is not likely to be convicted if you don't attend.

The Court could make a restraining order to stop him having contact with you but they won't do that on a first incident.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok. He has an appointment on wednesday with a solicitor. What are the chances of it being stopped from him going to court, is there anything his solicitor can do to help?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.


They do not summons in every case. It's fair to say that sometimes people are allowed to withdraw. On the face of it, there would appear to be a justification for withdrawing here. The injuries were not grave and the police have not been called before. There was no other significant aggravation.

However, there are some CPS reviewers who are militant, or just fail to consider the case properly, and will summons in circumstances where they should not.

A solicitor isn't likely to make any difference really to the decision to summons. That is for CPS alone. A solicitor can make representations but it doesn't often get anywhere of itself.

The real issue anyway is whether there would be a conviction rather than a charge.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


One more thing!! Could his solicitor attend on my partners behalf based on the evidence already provided?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No. He is on bail. He needs to attend or he will commit the offence of failing to surrender for which he would probably get in more trouble than the common assault.

He will need to attend every hearing until this comes to an end.

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