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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69364
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hello, My husband and I were victims of crime and we have

Customer Question

Hello,

My husband and I were victims of crime and we have a crime reference.
The attacker we were very surprised to hear, had also make a claim stating that my husband verbally abused him.
We were told by the police officer who visited us that he is dealing with both claims and the three of us are both claimants and defendants-is this not a conflict of interest?
Also could I act as a witness if charges are pressed against my husband for verbal abuse(which did not take place)-the offender alleges that he assaulted my husband as a result of the verbal abuse- I was next to them throughout the attack
The police did not contact us for 3 weeks after the attack(despite my visits to the police station to enquire about the progress of the investigation, and an email sent to them) and when they finally did they said that the allegations against my husband are of "higher order" and if both we and our attacker were to press charges at the same time, they would deal with the attacker's allegations first-is there "ranking" of allegations(crimes)?
Does it matter who reported the alleged crime first?-we went to the police station immediately after the attack( we did not have phones on us and I was screaming throughout the attack "call the police"; when we arrived at the police station the officer at the desk spoke to a colleague of his and we heard him saying "the victims are here" and we were told then that a member of the public has called the police and they had attended the crime scene(we had left by then), yet the police officers who visited us said the call was made by our attacker and as he reported a crime(allegations) first this count against us; we were at the police station 10-15 min after the crime took place and we were there for about an hour, but we did not see our attacker arriving, leaving etc;
we feel the police are trying to conceal something- can we request to see who called first ;
is it also correct that they will not start collecting witness statement until we press charges( we have already identified witnesses and given their addresses to the police)
and lastly what is the time limit to press charges-public order crime?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

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

You dont press charges in the UK. You make a statement to the police?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
hello Jo,

we made a statement, but the police said in order to arrest the offender and start investigation we need to "press charges"
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Are you in the UK?

The police here don't use that type of language. Thats an Americanism. Pressing charges is not the choice of the witness in the UK.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
yes, we are here, and this is precisely the term the police used
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Well, that is a nonsense. We don't press charges here. You make a statement to the police and they begin an investigation on that basis.

It might well be that they are not investigating this particularly vigorously and there is not much that can be done about that until you can show specific negligence. If its just that they prefer the account of this other person to that of your allegation then that is not actionable per se.

There is not conflict of interest in the same officers investigating both offences and, in fact, it should the same officers.

You can act as witness if you have evidence to contribute.

There is a hierarchy of crimes. Generally the most serious will be investigated first.

It shouldn't make all the much difference who made this report first but it often does. You don't have a right to know who reported this unless, of course, your husband is charged and then you could ask for sight of the CAD messages.

If this is a S5 or S4 public order then the limit is 6 months.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

 


They said no work has been done at all on the case so far(confirmed by the officer at the police station during my visits and by the police officer who visited us), i.e. they have not started any investigation at all;


the police officer to whom we gave the addresses of our witnesses said that due to budget cuts he will not start collecting witness statements(each one takes 1hour) unless we press charges

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Well, they may not have done anything but that isn't because you haven't pressed charges - whatever they think that means.

They might mean they need a S9 statement from you but there is no such thing as pressing charges in the UK.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

How are we to go about it then-they have not asked us to give them any further statements apart from what we told them we went to the police station after the attack.


Also, my husband has not received a letter from the police confirming he is a victim of crime, such a letter was only sent to me; although my husband suffered much more-the attacker's dog bit him( no injuries, but tore his jacket) and we showed the police the torn jacket ; my husband was pushed on the chest and chased along the road by the attacker and the dog pulling in front of him and we were both verbally abused; this is a second crime perpetrated by the same person and his dog and as he may face eviction(Council tenant) he falsely alleged my husband assaulted him verbally;


the attack on us happened as my husband tried to obtain a photo of the attacker's dog not being on a lead (the Council wanted substantiated proof of that in reply to our letter expressing concern that the dog is taken out not on a lead and in the previous attack my husband was bitten by the dog, was injured badly and needed a 3-day hospital stay, );


can we make a claim against the attacker of trying to perverse the course of justice?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
You cannot force the police to act. There are authorities that say they must consider every complaint but you cannot force them to launch a full scale investigation. It does rather sound as though their view is that your husband is the suspect rather than the witness so its probably better to do nothing.

If your husband was trying to take photographs of him then he will be saying that he was the aggressor. There is no offence in having a dog offlead in the UK. Most dog owners do that.

I imagine he is also saying that you have made this allegation to get revenge for the previous incident. Difficult to predict really.

You cannot claim for perverting the course of justice. That is the preserve of the police and CPS alone. Its not a civil wrong.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We think that taking a picture in public space and people contained therein is not illegal and not an act of aggression-is this correct?


My husband did "not press any charges" in relation to the previous incident in the name of trying to keep good relationship with this neighbor- what revenge can we talk about!


It is in the Council's terms of tenancy that all dogs should be kept on a lead, so the attacker was regularly in breach of his tenancy agreement as he was on the evening he assaulted my husband. Indeed after the first attack which happened 3 years ago the Council tried to obtain an injection at a Magistrate Court to ban the attacker having dogs, but was unsuccessful

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, its not illegal but there is no escaping the fact that its likely to be considered antagonistic in this particular type of situation.

Its probably safer to do nothing here. From what you say, the police seem to take the view that your husband was the aggressor and, if so, lying low is probably the best option.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

He was walking the dog off the lead within the boundary of the estate, which was in contravention with the tenancy agreement. This is also where the main attack on my husband took place.


We are not only making an allegation, we had one evidence of the attack already when we visited the police station-my husband's torn jacket; we also identified witnesses subsequently when the police informed us they had not done any work;


we know we were the victims, so we want to do everything, rather than nothing as you suggest above; should we ask the police about the s9 statement?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I understand that. The problem is that those contraventions are not for you to enforce. In fairness, there must have been many other people living on that estate and they weren't all out pursuing him over breaches that night. You have to appreciate how these things might look if he chooses to turn them around upon you.

The torn jacket just evidences a struggle. It doesn't prove who was the aggressor and whichever way you look at it you were pursuing him taking photographs. That doesn't necessarily mean that you were the cause of the violence of course but he will be using it against you.

My view is that you should do nothing. If you are intent and you are aware of the risks then you could ask the police again about making a statement. The risk is that they may arrest you and interview you under caution. The truth is that they may do that anyway though so its all a case of the roll of the dice.

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