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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70194
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My sister has accused my step father of indecently assaulting

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My sister has accused my step father of indecently assaulting her. She has had, due to cerebral MS, significant brain damage which has greatly compromised her memory and cognitive ability. There is no physical evidence, only her accusation, which has already lead to my stepfather, who I know is completely innocent, having been detained for 11hours at the police station, after which he was released on police bail and with no charges actually being brought at present. I know that my sister is recalling an unfortunate event when my uncle, who currently lives in New Zealand, came over for a holiday around 4 years ago, and we noticed that he was spending a little too much time in my sisters caravan. She later told us that he had abused her, and given his record, I fully believe that he did. What I think she is doing, with her impaired mind, is remembering the past and associating it with the present, and in so doing accusing the wrong person. As I say, there is no physical evidence, but my sister is, at present still clinging to her story. It is causing us a great deal of anxiety, and what I wanted to know what is going to be the likely outcome of the police enquiry, given that there is no physical evidence or forensics, only the accusations of a brain damaged woman. And also how long is all this going to take?
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.
Obviously I will not be able to predict the outcome of the police enquiry. I wouldn't take it personally if he is charged. Almost everybody is being charged at the moment. That is the real reason for the low conviction rate. If CPS prosecute lots of rubbish then they are going to have a low conviction rate.
The real question anyway is whether or not he would be convicted and the answer is probably not. However, he could be charged. Not many sexual offences do involve proper evidence. Accusation is usually all that is amounts to sometimes supported by recent complaint and quite often not. A lot of the time the witnesses are not credible but CPS would rather not have to tell them that so would prefer to waste millions of pounds in taxpayer's money that could be spent upon the economy just so that the jury can acquit in twenty minutes!
In terms of how long it will take, he is probably on bail for three months. That doesn't mean they will have a decision in three months. They have been much criticised recently for keeping people on bail for ever and a day but the real problem is just plain lack of manpower. If CPS do not prosecute it then I would expect between three to six months.
If they do prosecute it then how long would depend on court listings in the area but usually it would come to trial within a year.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So even where the complainant is clearly brain damaged, and where just about every area of the complaint can be refuted the cps will still pursue the matter, and willingly go to court just for as acquittal. But ultimately no weight at all is given to my sisters state of mind and the damage to it following a number of seizures historically, and no complaint or even so much as a depressed outlook ever given by her at any time, even asking my stepfather to go into her caravan to sort out her tv on regular occasions, and sitting quite happily next to him on the sofa watching football, when apparently he was abusing her???

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, they could do that. They often do.
Her state of mind does not necessarily weaken the allegation. It might be capable of doing so but sometimes people with disabilities can be the most credible witnesses.
Children do not always avoid their abusers. The fact that she spent time with him is a non issue. It might well assist him in his defence but it will not stop CPS from pursuing this. They will just say he was grooming her and she was more vulnerable because of her condition.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The thing is, my sister is not a child, she is a 50 year old woman, does that change the equation?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Not really.
Obviously from a practical point of view it does but from the point of view of a person who has read some much PC twaddle on this topic that they can no longer apply common sense probably not.
That is why nobody is ever charged with perverting the course of justice. CPS can always find some excuse to say that the allegation was a mistake or some public interest nonsense that mitigates against the prosecution.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

So it is possible that the CPS could drop it, or the police not pursue it.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
It isn't possible the police could not pursue it. That is a decision for CPS.
It is possible CPS could drop it.
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