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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70508
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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On the 3rd of April i was assaulted by my fiance and was taken

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On the 3rd of April i was assaulted by my fiance and was taken to the police where i made a statement.He has been charged with ABH and CRIMINAL DAMAGE and is on bail.We attended worthing magistrates court on 11th of june and the case is now going to chichester crown court on the 11th of july.His solicitor says due to his record albeit many years ago,he could be facing up to 5 years imprisonment.I desperately want to avoid a custodial sentence.We are still together,he was very drunk which is extremely rare and has little or no recollection of the incident.He is going to seek help for his anger.Is there any way (preferably without being charged myself!) that i can get this case dropped? Can i retract my statement at this late stage? The thought of trying to covince the court that i lied about the whole incident fills me with dread and i really don't think i could pull it off if i tried! We have been together more than 5 years and are planning to marry.Just so you are aware we are not a couple of kids,i am nearly 40 and he is nearly 50. Please help me,i need some advice and unfortunately do not have the money to go to a solicitor. k
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

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

Is this the first time the police have been contacted over something like this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes it is the first time.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
In this or in other relationships?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have never contacted the police before in this or any other relationship but they have been contacted during one of his previous relationships maybe going back 15-20 years.

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

What did you allege happen?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He had been drinking and getting progressively louder and more aggitated throughout the day.We had been out for lunch locally and then to the pub which ended up refusing to serve him.When we got home he suddenly decided he didn't want me there,pushed me out of the door,kicked and punched me.The police statement was alot longer and detailed but i was in shock and was there from about 5.30pm until midnight! as i said i just want this to be over without anyone going to prison!

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Did you have any injuries?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Black eye,bloody nose,bruising.

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

Were there any children in the house?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We have no children.

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. However, you are vulnerable to a summons because of the allegation of kicking and hitting and the injuries you suffered.

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. 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.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
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