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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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My son was in court for harrassment on thursday 21st June the

Customer Question

My son was in court for harrassment on thursday 21st June the lady who made the complaint now wants to write to the CPS representative that dealt with the case, the police have been approached but say that they are unable to help with names of any CPS personnel - the lady wants to retract her statement and do anything that she can to stop the case going further - my son is to appear at the crown court for sentensing because he has a live suspended sentence hanging over him - is there anyway we can find out the name of the CPS representative so that this lady can write directly in oreder she can make an appeal - Yours sincerely Catherine
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.

Would this happen to be a domestic by any chance?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

FOR JOMO1972


 


My son and the lady in question had fallen out after 8 years - my son found it difficult to come to terms with the breakup he sent several text messages I don't know the content - it appears that the lady called the police after receiving these messages in the hopes that the police would warn my son and the messages would stop, however, the police said that they couldn't let it rest there and arrested my son and took him to the station for questioning, they then gave him a court date for Chorley Magistrates 21st June -the lady now wants to retract all her statements because she didn't want the situation to go this far. My son has a live suspended sentence that he got for fraud at The Old Bailey in January 2011 - The lady wants to write to the CPS representative in order to plead with her and to retract her statement in the hopes that the court will be lenient towards my son - she is doing this because she wants to not because she has been pressured in any way - regards Catherine

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Is this the first time she has called the police please?

They would not normally do that for two texts of a first offence?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

FOR JOMO1972


 


Apparently there was more than 2 texts and he made out that he was going to take his life - I'm unsure what else has gone on in this case, but the lady in question is eager to get in touch with the courts to try and help my son, I told him that if she needs to write to the court then she doesn't necessarily need a name just the case number and the courts will sort ity out from there, my biggest worry really is not so much what, if anything, this lady can do but with the other offence hanging over him will he have to go to prison and serve the suspended sentence - I am really worried for him, he's not a bad chap just makes stupid mistakes and big ones - thank you for trying to help - Catherine

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. There are no allegations of violence 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.


FORJOMO1972


 


It does make sense however maybe I haven't made myself too clear it is my son that i am most worried about he is in front of the crown court now due to his lady friend making this complaint to the police - my son has an unspent 2 year suspended sentence and i am now so worried that he will be imprisoned - I understand what you say in your response - it's very difficult to cope with what might or might not happen - thank you for your help - Catherine

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
The power of the Crown Court are no greater in relation to this.

They still can't take any action in the long run against a complainant who just refuses to come.

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