Alex Hughes : My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question today. I need to ask you some preliminary questions to be able to help you.
Alex Hughes : Are there any witnesses to this incident?
His partner the child's Mother
Alex Hughes : Has she given a statement about this?
She has spoken to a civilian police investigator who came to the house but it was not a formal interview and nothing was written down. Further she went and spoke to the school prior to going to the house. I believe their was a police liaison officer at the school when the child was telling them what had happened. this was prior to the Mother being asked to attend the school.
Alex Hughes : The police can only offer a caution if your son admits the offence. He seems to be saying that his actions amount to reasonable chastisement. Therefore, he is denying the offence. The police will then have to decide whether the account given by this step son is credible and reliable - if it is not then they are unlikely to take the matter any further and that will be the end of the case. In this regard the mother is crucial - her evidence if it supports your son will help to get the case dropped. If she supports the stepson in terms of excessive force then clearly it will be a problem.
I should have mentioned that the child has stated 4 other incidents when he has been push or clip round the ear this is over a 10 year period. Also he does not feel the Mother supports him against the my son.
Therefore what should he say " that he felt it was reasonable chastisement " and that he does not accept the charge and if so what will be the next step
They are also saying that you must never hit a child round the head only bottom or legs
Alex Hughes : That is not helpful. Even if your son denies the allegation there is clearly a history. The police are more likely to want to charge him if he does not accept a caution. The fact that the mother supports the child is not helpful either.
No the child is saying the mother does not support him
Alex Hughes : One incident of a clip round the ear would probably be reasonable chastisement. Several incidents over 10 years is unlikely to be considered "reasonable".
The mother has said that it did happen they asked if the child cried and he did not and she did not think it was unreasonable
Alex Hughes : If the mother does not support the child then your son should really say nothing. Without his admission they only have the child's account of what happened. The police are very unlikely to prosecute when the only evidence is a nun corroborated account of a child.
Alex Hughes : Your son has the right to silence. Saying nothing means the police have to prove the case with other evidence. Only the child's account exists. They are unlikely to prosecute on his word alone.
As I say there were no marks or bruises it was not unfair as the child had bullied his 6yr old sister into taking the blame. There has also been issues with the child wanting to live with his father that the mother has opposed
Alex Hughes : There is clearly no evidence corroborating the child's account. I think your son should seriously consider not saying anything. If he accepts giving the boy a clip round the ear, this will not help him. He could be prosecuted on this admission alone. If he is offered a caution and does not accept then the only options are to drop the case or prosecute - the latter is more likely. However, if he says nothing the police are unlikely to prosecute on the child's word alone.
Thanks for that advice I think we now know what to do although it is still unclear what the procedure is if he does not accept the caution.
Alex Hughes : The police can only offer a caution if your son admits the allegation. If he says nothing or denies the allegation the police will either charge or drop the case. My view is that they're likely to drop the matter if he says nothing because the case relates to a minor assault, based on the in corroborated account of a child.