I have sent you a detailed summary of the situation for your perusal and advice.
I have sent a synopsis of the situation so you're more well informed and also included this in this reply.
This is the first offence, however, the police were keeping a log of events back in 2012 but nothing ever came of it.
The messages apart from 1 or 2 were not offensive.
I would guess about 50 txts over a 3 week period.
She occasionally responded.
Synopsis of situation
I had a 10 year relationship with my ex-partner but have now been split up for around 4 years; also we have 3 young children with her, aged 12, 8 and 6. Generally our relationship is positive as this is what is best for the children and I religiously pay £600 maintenance ever month. I am a very loving caring father and I have my children ever weekend overnight.
Between 3rd Oct and 20th Oct I sent about 50 txt messages to my ex partner as I had found out she was in a relationship and had been for around 6 months. Many of the messages were somewhat cryptic so probably didn’t mean much to her, however, some of them were a little more harsh….e.g. “You and your new fella Paul said you weren’t going to introduce each other to the children….MAKE SURE IT STAYS THAT WAY”
In another message which I have no recollection of sending as I was intoxicated, I sent a picture of me holding a knife. I wasn’t threatening her in anyway it was another message to let her know that I could possible harm myself as I had sent 2 or 3 messages suggesting suicide but always followed up saying I wouldn’t ever do that. I also sent this email to her after I found out about the picture message with a knife…Bye way I swear that the knife pictures have worried me as I don't have any recollection of ever sending them but obviously I did. Sorry.
Additionally, in her statement to the police she mentions an incident that happened outside her house in Aug 2012 and within her statement she claims that I had threatened her with a knife. There were no charges, court case or anything to do with this incident whatsoever. This statement worries me immensely. She also claims that I have said she needs to be careful as where I live now I know some seriously bad people who have access to guns and other weapons. This is totally untrue as although I have told her there are many people in my neighbourhood known to the police I have never made any threats whatsoever towards her.
Possibly, some mitigating circumstances are that in Sept 2014 my father passed away very traumatically. My brother would have turned 50 years of age but unfortunately committed suicide 20+years ago. I also have a mental illness…bi-polar disorder for which I am under Merseyside mental health team.
I know my behaviour is wrong and have also started to see a psychotherapist to help deal with my emotions / feelings following breakdown of my relationship. As mentioned , the break-up happened around 4 years ago but I'm still struggling to come to terms with it so am now seeking some professional help.
I don’t have any criminal record apart from a caution for cocaine possession in Feb 2012. Based upon all of this I am after some professional advice if I am likely or not to receive a custodial sentence.
I fully appreciate you have no control over this but just wanted a professional opinion as to whether I am likely to be sent to prison for up to 12 weeks.
I have not specifically advised the courts about my mitigating circumstances. From my document explaining the circumstances / background all I need to know based on your professional opinion is if I am going to fce a custodial sentence. Again I will stress that I know you havent got a crystal ball but would like your professional opinion if I am going to jail ?
Told the police what specifically ?
I have told the police my father has died recently and that I have bi-polar disorder
Thanks for your reply.
I was aware that as a minimum I would be facing a restraining order, however, I just wanted a professional opinion if I would be facing a custodial sentence, which as I understand as it's my first offence I probably won't...is that correct ?
Just a point of clarification, the approximately 50 texts were sent between the dates of 3rd - 20th October so over a period of 17 days.
I understand in magistrates court the sentencing is almost always based on the pre-sentencing report conducted by probation service. Could you kindly advise the best strategy when I have the meetings with the probation service to prevent me getting a custodial sentence ?
Many thanks and kind regards.
Many thanks again for your prompt reply and being totally straight with me which is what I wanted. FANTASTIC.
fullly understand you haven't got a crystal ball and the sentencing on the day will be what the magistrates decide.
Only couple more questions and then we are done.
At the sentencing hearing how do I challenge some inaccuracies in my ex partners statement, these being:-
1. Additionally, in her statement to the police she mentions an incident that happened outside her house in Aug 2012 and within her statement she claims that I had threatened her with a knife. There were no charges, court case or anything to do with this incident whatsoever. This statement worries me immensely.
2. She also claims that I have said she needs to be careful as where I live now I know some seriously bad people who have access to guns and other weapons. This is totally untrue as although I have told her there are many people in my neighbourhood known to the police I have never made any threats whatsoever towards her.
The 2 inaccuracies in her statement have been read out to the court s they have heard it and no doubt made a judgement about the allegations even though no proof and no police involvement.
ow can this be retracted .....does my solicitor simply say that these comments should be totally ignored as there is no evidence to warrant them and they are Inadmissible in court ?
Many many thanks you have been fantastic.
After arrest I was remanded in custody and appeared before the court the following day. As during interview I was shown many pages of the text messages that I had sent. I decided to plead guilty which I did as I didn't think I had a chance of a not guilty plea.
Thankfully I was given bail even though the prosecution was constantly giving reasons why I should be held in custody. I return to court in 3 weeks for sentencing.
The inaccurate statements were part of ex partners witness statement that the prosecution read out verbatim, so the seed is planted so the question is how to make sure these are not taken into account ?
I have rated your service at the highest level and also sent you a tip....you have been fantastic.
It is almost certain that my ex partner could oppose the restraining order as it would create problems with handing the kids over to me each weekend. How does she oppose the restraining as she probably won't know its in place until after sentencing and I can't contact her due to bail conditions?
Will the same 3 magistrates who were at plea hearing be the same as st sentencing hearing ?
Why isn't it a good idea after a period of time to have restraining order removed ?
It would be good not to have anything to do with her, however, I have 3 beautiful children aged 12, 8 and 6 who I have every weekend which is why she may after a period of time want it removed.
You are so so on the ball and correct. She has all weekend to herself every weekend and that has been the case for years and she is totally adamant that the night I have them is not changing. She went away to Spain for 4 days at begining of October and I had kids also this week I took kids away to Scotland for 4 days. I have also calculated with her salary, child and working tax credits, family allowance and my £600 maintenance every month she is raking in £31k per year but has recently said she wants another £100 or she is going to CSA and stopping me seeing kids if I don't pay up.....a total joke!
The last thing I want to do is get the courts involved regarding my kids.
Also, the CSA have been replaced by Child Maintenance Service and I have done all the calculations. They take your gross income provided by HMRC and for me with 3 children I would pay maintenance of 9% of this gross figure, however, 1/7th of this is deducted due to a parental shared agreement as I also have the kids overnight. I would only end up paying £464.84. I have done all the calculations as I am totally pissed off with the constant threats of csa
When I wasn't getting paid which was for about 3 months she gave me that much hassle I was drawing the money out of cash machines on credit cards.
Just tried to rate your answers even though have already done so and received this msg...
Why do you have to pay for trying to give credit where credit is due?
I want to thank you again for your fantastic help in educating me on the possible outcome of the sentencing hearing and also explaining parts of the legal system.
I will just have to now worry for 3 weeks wondering if I will be issued a custodial sentence or the preferred restraining order.
.On reviewing msgs i noticed an error in information I provided about cms calculations. The amount I would pay frlm gross salary is 19% and not 9% as stated in initial email.
Correct if I went through Child Maintenance Service (CMS) the figure would be £464.84 !
Basically I am far too soft and generous!
Do you think I should mention the following statement when I go to see the probation service or should I not mention it at all ?
We may have a huge problem as I have just remembered that in her witness statement she mentions that at the end of 2011 / 2012 we were not getting along whatsoever.
This led to any disagreement we had about the children she would just slam the front door in my face and have no communication with me whatsoever. Often I tried to resolve the issue as it nearly always something relating to my children and I wanted answers.
Whenever this happened she would always call the police and complain that I was outside the house.
I wondered whether Merseyside police had any information about me on their database so under the Subject Access, Data Protection Act I made an application to see if they held any information about me and they did.
The information I received has statem,ents such as:-
At no stage whilst this was going on was I cautioned or arrested and no charges were ever brought.
The question and worry I now have is will the CPS prosecution raise these points saying this is the second time Shea has caused distress or fear ???
I'm thinking as it wasn't raised at the plea hearing trial it won't get raised at sentencing.
Hi again Jo,
Please accept my apologies for the amount of questions I have asked and hope you don't mind, but I just want as much information as possible as I'm worried to death about going to jail.
The letter I have received from the courts titled Notice of grant of bail with conditions advising me of:-
I have noticed in the section which is titled CASES that the HARASSMENT WITHOUT VIOLENCE charge is dated 07/10/2014.
However, when in court I was told the offence was over the period 3rd to 20th Oct.
Why is it dated 07/10/2014, is this an error which could make the letter invalid ?
Firstly thank you for your fantastic advice thus far.....really helpful.
On review of the magistrates sentencing guidelines I have a concern and am wondering which one of the following could be the starting point.
1. Small number of incidents
2. Constant contact at night, trying to come into
workplace or home, involving others
3. Threatening violence, taking personal photographs,
sending offensive material
I am concerned that a txt msg with me holding a knife might be in the category of 'Threatening violence, taking personal photographs, sending offensive material' ?
Additionally, appreciate you don't have a crystal ball but do you still think I won't be facing custodial sentence.
So does that make it point 1, 2 or 3 ?
What is S2 and S4 harassment ?
As I'm so pleased with all your help, if I give another 'tip' do you get this money directly as I want to show you how greatful I am for your help ?
Based on all the information I've provided and that I've read that quote:
You may get a community sentence if:-
1. the court thinks you're more likely to stop committing crime than if you go to prison.
2. it's the first time you've committed a crime
3.you have a mental health condition that affects your behaviour.
Do you now think I will get a custodial sentence or community order and restraining order or ????
I obviously have bail conditions not to contact my ex-partner and for contact with children made vis my brother.
All contact is being made via my brother but what are the legal implications of ex-partner dropping kids off at my house, she stays in car and I stay in house. No contact whatsoever ?
I have been doing a lot of reading about the presentence report the probation service will.
In addition to the points below what are some typical examples to show probation service and courts that I am not going to re-offend again ?
Steps I have put in place already
1. re-engaged with my psychiatrist and CPN for support
2. Now seeing a Gastalt Psychotherapist to help me discuss and resolve and issues I am facing and committed to stay in therapy until issues are resolved
3. Stopped the binge drinking when my mood is low
4. No longer have contact number for ex-partner as all matters concerning children go via my brother
As you are no doubt aware I am extremely interested in my case. Will my solicitor get a copy of the prosecution papers and copy of witness statements?
Will my solicitor not be able to get them sooner so I can see them beforeI go Iinitial probation meetimg?
Not sure if we have wires crossed Jo.
I am asking if my solicitor will have a copy of:-
1. prosecution papers
2. witness statements
If the answer is yes it would be useful for me to see them before my initial probation meeting on Tue 11th Nov.
Again, please accept my apologies for the constant questions but I am a nervous wreck and worried beyond belief and just trying to understand the legal system.
As mentioned previously:-
After arrest I was remanded in custody and appeared before the court the following day. During interview I was shown many pages of the text messages that I had sent so I decided to plead guilty which I did as I didn't think I had a chance of a not guilty plea.
I am now on bail and appear before the court on 19th Nov for sentencing but sure this will be adjourned as they will not have the medical / mental health report.
From what you are saying my solicitor will have a copy of the prosecution papers and witness statements ???
Many thanks Jo,
I will request a copy of all documentation on Monday from my solicitor so I am fully informed prior to seeing Probation Service on Tuesday.
I cannot thank you enough and if your managers etc want to follow up I am willing to discuss the fantastic service you have provided. Mobile: 07799 343 349
I have now spent days researching as much as I can about the court process, probation service, pre-sentencing report, the conviction - harassment without violence but I'm not continuing on this path as it's driving me mad.
I have one final question for you and then it's over.
Could you kindly provide me with a list of things which will assist at my initial probation meeting for them to prepare my pre-sentencing report.
Not sure if the following list is advisable or not ???
Emails showing steps I have taken to prevent me from re-offending; e.g. emails to:-
1. Merseycare Mental Health to access support from psychiatrist and CPN
2. Voluntary sessions with psychotherapist to held deal with emotions
3. Emails sent to ex-partner (obviously prior to arrest and conviction) letting her know that I am sorry and would never ever harm her
Hope all is good with you.
As you have been so involved with my case thought I would drop you a line to let you know how my probation meeting went today.
Had meeting with probation today. The probation officer said he had never met anyone with an understanding of the process or who was as prepared and well informed of the process than me....which was good.
He said he would be recommending a low level community order, tagged or fine along with meeting with probation service on a weekly .
If you want I will let yo know what sentence I get which will be on 19th Nov.
Again, thank you so much for your helpand advice.
I have just started a new relationship which will be so beneficial in getting over my ex-partner. A curfew were I will be on tag would be such a detriment to me moving on.
How do I raise this during my sentencing hearing ?
You were exactly correct, thankfully didn't get custodial sentence.
I got at sentencing hearing today:-
Again thanks for all your help Jo very much appreciated.
I have a restraining order preventing me entering into ex partners road. However, she is insisting I drop the children off at her address in the said road as she is away for the weekend. Where does put me and also her legally ?
I have categorically stated I am going nowhere near her house.
For collecting and returning the children to her every weekend, we have provisionally agreed to meet in car park half way between our houses and kids get out of one car and into the other, no contact whatsoever. Is this breaking the restraining order ?
Also, she tells me via my brother that Liverpool Domestic Violence have advised her that that she doesn't have to do anything in any way to assist me in having access to my children.....how are the arrangements to see the children to work if this is true ?