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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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For Jo C A relative of mine was recently convicted of harassment

Resolved Question:

For Jo C
A relative of mine was recently convicted of harassment without violence in a magistrates court. She felt that she was convicted on weak evidence and she felt that the magistrates were biased towards the prosecution. She felt that important evidence was ignored and there was enough reasonable doubt about what happened which should have resulted in an acquittal. To be honest I was not too optimistic about a magistrates trial when I found out that there was a 90% conviction rate. She wants to appeal to a crown court. My question is what are the pros and cons of appealing in a crown court?
Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What was the evidence?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo,

The conviction was based on testimony given by the complainant and witness being "credible" as the magistrate described.

The evidence which was ignored was a transcript of a 999 call made. In the transcript it stated that the complainant said that the relative had approached her in a car, opened the window and verbally abused her. Yet, when giving evidence at the trial she said that she was verbally abused from an upstairs window as she walked past our house. When our defence solicitor questioned her about this, she said that what was written in the 999 transcript was not true.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, well Magistrates are what they are unfortunately. The great British compromise of the Magistrates Court is that people who should be acquitted are convicted but given very light sentences.
To be wholly honest though, it doesn't get much better on appeal. The appeal is just a rehearing with a Crown Court judge and two Magistrates.
Appeals are worth doing sometimes. In particular with domestics. Everybody should be appealing because witnesses just won't show on the second occasion. It is also always good if there was absent evidence at the Magistrates Court.
In this case, you are just hoping that another court would take a different view of it. The CAD report could be inaccurate. They are sometimes. The way to check that is to get the original tape and listen to that which would resolve the issue.
In truth though, even if that inconsistency were accepted it may well not be enough to render the complainant an incredible witness. It depends what else you have to support that.
Usually the risk on appeal is an increased costs order. You can get your sentence increased as well but that doesn't happen very often.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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