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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69359
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My husband a neighbour had a huge row when drunk when he turned

Customer Question

My husband a neighbour had a huge row when drunk when he turned the music loud and I asked him to turn it down he became abusive, my neighbour accused him of being an alcoholic and to get to bed, she went on quite a tirade, in the meantime he picked a pizza up and threw it at the wall which hit me, he then subsequently launched two wine bottles, I called the police as I didn't want the situation to get out of hand. We made statements and he was arrested
My partner pleaded guilty to throwing a pizza (common assault) but denied throwing a wine bottle at me. There is now a Newton Hearing to decide the discrepancies in the events, where I have been called as a witness and the other lady as well
That evening there had been a lot of drinking. It now turns out that:
My husband can't remember what happened and took the witness statements from the police and agreed with them, with no legal counsel. He is european and dyslexic and doesn't understand the english law. He had been drinking heavily and I believe he was still drunk when he gave his plea. Because he doesn't have any friends or family he wasn't able to get a bail address and was kept in the cells for three days the processed at court on the monday, where he was advised to plead guilty to common assault to get bail and go to work. His bail conditions were that he couldn't come home and he was bailed to hostel where they took crack!! A work colleague then gave him a bail address.
I went to try to withdraw my statement the next morning (Saturday) and was told the police didn't have time to see me, he hadn't been charged at that point one said he had one didn't
The other witness can't remember what happened and a second person actually gave a the statement to the police which the 1st witness signed, she never saw the pizza being thrown
There have been serious procedural errors in getting this guilty plea. Its like the police and the CPS just had a sitting duck with my husband who never realised the seriousness of this. Anybody knows you don't let yourself be interviewed without legal counsel! And the 2nd witness statement was incorrectly taken whilst the neighbour was drunk. When they eventually allowed me to withdraw my statement 1 week later, the police officer did a big oops when she found out the argument wasn't between me and my husband, and they quickly got in touch with the CPS and told me that they were happy for my husband to come home, if fact her supervisor was talking in the background quite rapidly. It seems though now it is in the court system there is no way back. How do we best represent this?
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. So how is this proceeding - has he been formally charged yet? What do they expect him to do next?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He has been formally charged and pleaded guilty to common assault there is a newton hearing on tuesday 29/10, we have been asked to go as witnesses, to decide whether he threw the wine bottle at me (prosecution) or at the floor (defence)


I have my withdrawn statement


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
So do you not want to appear as a witness?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I do not want to appear as a witness and I have withdrawn my statement


But I don't know which is the best approach

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Jo C.


I do not want to appear as a witness and I have withdrawn my statement


But I don't know which is the best approach he did throw the wine bottle in the general direction of me softly, it was with no force it was more of a "Stop this woman shouting at me" he was that drunk he didn't know what he was doing he has now received counselling for his drinking and realises he was blacking out and loosing control. His is not violent person, quite easy going. His statement is he threw it on the floor, I don't understand how I can be called at a newton trial when I've withdrawn my statement. At no time do I feel threatened by him, on the other side of the coin I know it shouldn't make a difference but I am not a tiny woman and he is very tall, I think they seem to have this impression he is quite violent battering a little woman when I am extremely confident, forth right and can defend myself. Totally lost my faith in the CPS, its like the woman who swallowed a fly

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

Is this the first time you've called the police please?

If not, how many times before roughly?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

2nd time, he received a police caution for throwing a wine bottle which cut my cheek

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

The problem with this situation is that he has already pleaded and I presume admitted at least part of the offence as he sound not have done if I had represented him.

They could summons you if you have tried to withdraw. Its difficult to say whether they would. They have already got a plea from him but on the other hand this is the second incident so their mercy is probably running thin.

You are right though in principle. Once you call the police to a domestic you lose control over the case. There is only one way to keep control and that is not to call them in the first place.

If you don't co operate with the prosecution though they will have to thrown their hand in over the Newton hearing but they will still get a plea to the common assault unfortunately.
I'm very sorry but I can only give you truthful information.

Can I clarify anything for you? I'm offline for about an hour and a half but I can come back then if you want to know anything else.

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Jo C.


I thought so. So just to confirm, if I do not show up they will have to accept his version of events that there was no wine bottle thrown, only "discarded on the floor" and sentence on a thrown pizza for common assault?


In mitigation, however, is it better I am there to say he is reformed character and would it make any difference?


 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Jo C.


Also a criminal lawyer has indicated due to the fact he pleaded guilty to get out of custody, this was undue pressure, he has no knowledge of english law and made statements without legal representation as he didn't realise the seriousness of what was happening, how can we best represent this?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
That isn't undue pressure. If a criminal lawyer said that then its probably time to think about chasing your representation.

If its just that he made a statement against interest in circumstances that he now regrets then there's nothing that can be done about that in this particular case.

For the future of course, you can avoid calling the police and he can learn to make a no comment interview if you do.

A guilty plea can only be vacated if a person pleaded guilty when he was denying the offence effectively which is not his position here.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Jo C.


 


OK to confirm:


 


If I do not show up they will have to accept his version of events that there was no wine bottle thrown, only "discarded on the floor" and sentence on a thrown pizza for common assault?


 


In mitigation, however, is it better I am there to say he is reformed character and would it make any difference?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, if you don't co operate but bear on mind that if they summons you then failing to answer is a contempt of court. They won't prosecute but it is a contempt.

Pleas for clemency from victims of domestic violence can come across as further evidence if a defendants manipulation and control so its a double edged sword. Personally I never call them and I don't think it helps but obviously its a matter for whoever is running this case
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Jo C.


 


Thanks - I have had a call from witness protection but no official paper summons, if I had been summoned would I have received paperwork? Is there a way for me to find out if I have been summoned i.e. ringing the listings office at the court?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Not yet necessarily.

They know now that you are reluctant though so they will be considering it
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The newton hearing is tuesday, so they don't seem organised enough

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No, if they haven't done it now they won't get it done for Tuesday.

They might adjourn and get a summons though

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