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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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Is it a good idea to write a letter of apology to someone admitting

Resolved Question:

Is it a good idea to write a letter of apology to someone admitting responsibility of your behaviour if they could still escalate it to the police?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Jo.
Last weekend I was at a wedding with friends and while intoxicated physically picked up a member of the catering staff and moved her about 10m. While shouting obscenities. Nothing further happened and there was no sexual touching, which she agrees with. I just wanted to write a letter of apology and take responsibility of my stupid actions.
However, I don't want her to take my letter to the police and say something like 'he admits he picked me up, I want to press assault/harassment charges'
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Sorry, what did you actually do to her?
You are male I suppose?
has there been any suggestion that she will report it?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm Male yes. I physically picked her up with my arms. And walked with her about 10 metres and put her down and then we both walked separate ways.
I don't think there has been a suggestion that she will report it. More of a 'wake up call'.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
OK.
I suppose technically that is an assault although you might have the defence of horseplay available. That is a little known defence that isn't used very often.
If you set down in writing an apology then you are effectively admitting something. The only way to avoid that is to write a letter of apology in a way that doesn't sound particularly contrite - for instance 'I am sorry if I did anything that made you angry etc'. The problem with those letters is that they are not really an apology and tend to just antagonise.
This is a gamble really. If you write a letter of apology she could use it against you. From a risk management point of view I would not advise it for that reason.
It would be possible to specify in the letter exactly what you are admitting so that she cannot use it to support sexual claims. But you would still be admitting an assault.
Another option is apologise in person or on the telephone and then there is no record of evidence against you.
Obviously if she reports it you can only behave ethically and either tell the truth or say nothing but you dont' generally want to be giving the Crown evidence to sue against you.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If I apologise in a way written such as 'I apologise for my rude and selfish behaviour and am sorry for making you feel uncomfortable' rather than admit picking her up/physically touching her whatsoever. - is that no longer admitting assault.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
My only concern with that is that WOULD support a sexual assault claim.
If you are going to set down an apology in writing then it is fairly important to specify exactly what you are admitting so it cannot be used against you to support nonsense.
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