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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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Hi two weeks ago my partner and i split. This led to a week

Customer Question

Hi

two weeks ago my partner and i split. This led to a week of 'assaults'... in that he was heartbroke and during the arguments he pushed n kicked me.
It resulted one night in him not leaving my doorstep so i threatened call police. I dialled 999 and he ran so i put phone down but they turned up.
I told them the story above and they said regardless of what happens they need to arrest him. They stayed outside my door then a police woman came and took a statement ... This was at 5am. Also took photos of a bruise on my arm.
He was arrested, charged with 4 counts of assault and pleaded not guilty. Trial is dec 23rd.
Since then ive also been hounded to complete lots of paperwork and social services are now coming?

i dont want to pursue this. Its out of my hands... Ive been told by my witness officer i cant drop charges, that if i refuse co-operate i will get a court summons and be charged with contempt if i dont turn up?

what is the best course of action so this ends.... i dont want to go to court. I havent eaten since this happened, lost a stone in weight, cant sleep and feel pressured.

Yes he assaulted me but it was a heated argument and didnt want this to happen?
He certainly has learnt a lesson as we both have!!!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

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

Do you have children? Is that the reason for social services involvement?

Also, is this the first time you've called the police?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Two children aged 16 and 12 and yes first time police involved... We did have a fight 2 years and he caught my face and bruised it. I went to hospital as it was swollen and told them we had an argument and he caught me so i suppose if they look at my medical records they will see that?

He doesnt 'abuse' me... We have had about 5 'fights' in 4 years where he has got physical and just pushes me.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No, they won't go through your records for a low level common assault and anyway hospital records are harder to access.

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. 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 save for the children. I suppose they were in the house even if they did not witness the assault?

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.

There is a provision under S97 MCA that allows them to commit you to prison for up to one month if you attend and refuse to give evidence but that won't happen. I've only ever seen them threaten it on a first occasions and they all involved women who had made literally thousands of calls to the police.

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

For Jo C

 

So what i should? Go to the police and say i dont want to support the case anymore? What are good grounds to do so? Basically what do i say? Do i have to go in person or can i ring? I support the law and understand some cases warrant this treatment but feel they decised to prosecute but dont realise the stress its caused to me. I havent been able to work since

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Jo c


 


SO what steps do i take next? ring police or go to station and what do i say?


what are good grounds for not wanting to support?


 


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No, there's no point in doing anything really. There are no magic wands I'm afraid. I do realise that you know this now and it doesn;t help but the only way to avid this in future is not to call the police. As soon as you do the matter is no longer under your control.

All you can do is follow the steps above and wait it out. Obviously nobody can advise you to act in contempt of court.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

for jo c


 


so dont go to police and tell them im not supporting it?


but just leave it and not turn up to court on the day?


if i just dont turn up what will they do? will they go ahead with case or adjourn and summons me? how will they know i dont intend to support?


 


They keep chasing me for paperwork....


 


what will happen if I ring them and say i am not supporting the case so not completing the paperwork? surely its best to let them know i dont intend to support/go court so dont waste anymore time???

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
There's not really any point. All they will do is take a retraction and then use it to get a summons.

If you don't attend then they will seek an adjournment and a summons if they do not have one already.

If they are chasing you for paperwork though then probably they know you are reluctant anyway and may have a summons already.

If you call them they will seek a summons on the information that they have.

No its not best that they know for the reasons above. They are very unlikely to drop this since you have called them already. All giving them a heads up will do is warn them of the need to get a summons.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

so im unsure what to do?


 


Just no turn up...or turn up and refuse go in the box?


 


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
As i have said, I obviously cannot advise you to commit a contempt of court.

I covered your options and the risks above. There are no magic wands once the police are called.

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.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Jo c


 


Ok thanks for advice


 


I think im going to tel them im not supporting prosecution. Ive read the CPS guidelines.


 


I havent worked since it happened and im self employed...the effects are devastating. I will see my GP as i have severe anxiety at the thought of going to court. i don think i would be fit to stand etc etc


 


They need to know that as i cant leave it 7 weeks.... i need to get on with my life


my ex is out the picture now


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Ok. That is a matter for you ultimately. It wouldn't be my suggestion as it will just tip them off but the waiting game is stressful in this situation so I do understand a wish to do something.

all the best.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’.

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