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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69775
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have been summoned to attend court to give evidence I do

Resolved Question:

I have been summoned to attend court to give evidence I do not want to go i have a disability and can get a medical note will this be good enough ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

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

is this is a domestic please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes with my son
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Is this the first time you've called the police?

Either in relation to him or in relation to partners?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No second
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
To your son on both occasions?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks.

The medical note is a non issue I'm afraid.

Did you attend on the previous occasion? What happened then?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He was cautioned
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 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.
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.

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. There is an offence under the Magistrates Court act in refusing to give evidence but its almost never prosecuted. I did see it threatened once but that involved a women who had made literally thousands of calls to the police.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69775
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you very much
My sons lawyer has told him the best route is for me not to show up I'm uneasy about this but I do not want him getting a record he has learning difficulties and mental health issues he lost his temper and he is big 6 ft5 he has never touched me but a chair got smashed and I am intimidated when he looses it , he doesn't understand limits and boundaries

The police man in charge tried to get it stopped as it was a very minor incident but his boss would nt. listen he is trying to find work a record would only hinder that thanks for your response I think I'll risk not going but I'm finding it hard to know what to do for the best thank s again
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, the trouble with summonsing is that it only really scares the law abiding. Young ladies from a background of making serial allegations of abuse are quite well aware of how far the Crown will go.

Please remember to leave feedback for my answer.

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