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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 partner assaulted me and I called the police they have charged

Customer Question

My partner assaulted me and I called the police they have charged her with assault and she has appeared at court it is adjourned pending probation reports can I drop the charges
XXXXX XXXXX
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.

Is this the first time you've called them please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes she has not done this before
Peter
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

What was the allegation that you made? What did you say happened exactly?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
For j c
Bearing mind we had been partying all afternoon and evening the policeman wrote my statement and I signed it at hosp at 5in the morning after no sleep told truth but they have been so heavy handed
Peter
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, they are rather heavy handed at the moment. There are lots of reasons for it.

So what did you say happened?

If you were at the hospital then I presume you had an injury of a reasonably severe nature?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I told the truth only bruising but they insisted I go to hosp no need really I wanted them to let her go after she calmed down can I drop the charges
Pete
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 lies.

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. They actually might let you withdraw but basically only because you are male and she is female and CPS do generally treat female violence entirely differently.

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.
For j c
Sorry that info is over my head I have not been summoned to attend court and have been kept in the dark over this but she is not allowed to contact me or go anywhere near me and I want it to end can I do anything to stop the action peter
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Well, I'm not sure what else I can say really? I can't think of a way of making it clearer.

In short, no their policy is to summons but there are things you can do and I've explained those above.

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