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Ask Alice H Your Own Question

Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2847
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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I have been issued with a witness summons , i do not wish

Customer Question

Hi i have been issued with a witness summons , i do not wish to attend and had repeatedly made the police and witness care aware .
I made a statement on seeing a potential burglary that was foiled and 3 guys were arrested. It was so long ago i couldn't remember much about it apart from passing a numberplate over to police thats it and i do not wish to be further involved especially to put my family and own home at risk .
I have spoken to the home owner and they also do not wish to push this.
The police are harassing with multiple texts , voicemail and phone calls now visiting my home with a marked car in front of all my neighbours for me to attend and requesting me to sign a document to say i will attend and threatening me with arrest if don't attend , i have still refused .
I am self employed and employ guys and do not have the time neither can i afford to take the day off and i would also have to pay my guys as its not there fault they couldnt work , they could not work without my presence .
I feel it would be a complete waste of my time as i don't remember any relevant facts
If i have already repeatedly made the police aware of my not wishing to attend where do i stand ?
I have read that providing that i have made them aware with plenty of time then its ok and stating that i can't remember anything about it and not wishing to be involved surely its not in the courts interest?
kind regards.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 1 year ago.
My name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you. Can you confirm that you have a witness summons from the court as opposed to a letter from witness care to attend?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

A police officer delivered some faded paperwork

at the top it says


then WITNESS SUMMONS addressed to me ...

I had already made the police aware months ago and many times mort recently over the past few weeks.....

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Other.
not sure if i have lost the person reviewing for me?
Expert:  Alice H replied 1 year ago.
Good morning. This is not a document from the police - it has been issued by a Crown Court Judge. The witness summons is an order requiring you to attend Court to give evidence - failure to comply could result in your arrest and you could be held in contempt of court. A conviction will almost certainly result in a prison sentence. I have to put this bluntly - regardless of your views the Court has decided that you must attend to give evidence - it is immaterial whether you think you can help or not; you must attend the Court. They will decide whether your evidence is of any value of not. I cannot over emphasise the importance of complying with this witness summons - it has to be complied with otherwise (regardless of what happens to the case itself) it could land you in a load of trouble. That is the position in law I'm afraid whether we like it or not.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks but i read that if i gave them plenty of notice with i had the it was ok . The police have chosen to be difficult and because i have refused to go they have gone straight o the courts to get this summons . The courts wouldn't have issued this without the police asking them at this stage as its the 1st hearing.

The police are wrong ! I did a good deed on the day and now they want to punish me !! and put me and my family in danger from thugs !!!

This is a disgrace i shall never help the police again!

why is it that its ignored that i gave them plenty of notice ?

Expert:  Alice H replied 1 year ago.
I can't answer for the police, of course. And I have no idea what the case involves or what their reasoning is. Howver, in order for a Judge to be satisfied that you will be able to give "material evidence" in the case he will have been shown or at least told about your witness statement. If the Judge thought that your evidence was not relevant a summons would not have been granted. However, if you feel that the summons was not obtained properly you can apply to the Judge to set it aside - you need to contact the Court and tell them the reasons why you think the summons has been obtained improperly. Also you should remember that if you are in fear for your safety "special measures" could be put in place for you to give evidence, for exmaple, from behind a screen or you could be granted anonymity.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks they issued this 7.30 last night and the case is 10 am monday morning they have deliberately left me with no time to write to the judge!

How can i get the message to the judge to say the summons was not obtained properly before 10 am monday ?

I have to work and i employ people , i can't just walk away from my jobs as a heating engineer , customers are extremely tightly booked in and would not only loose the days work but have to pay my guys and more than likely loose customers completely for wasting there time ..and on top of that throw all my schedules out in a big way .

Its disgusting we have a bad enough name for reliability as it is !

Expert:  Alice H replied 1 year ago.
The witness summons would not have been issued at 7.30 p.m. That may be the time when they tried to serve it on you but it would have been issued either earlier that day or days beforehand. The Court is not open between now and Monday morning - the earliest opportunity to contact the Court will be Monday morning.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

do i phone or turn up or write a letter?

Expert:  Alice H replied 1 year ago.
You have two choices really and you will have to decide which one to choose: you could write or call first thing on Monday but you will only be able to speak to the Court staff and not the Judge directly. You can tell them your concerns about attending and the Judge will decide whether the witness summons should be set aside or not. The downside to this is that by not attending you are effectively disobeying a court order. The other option is to attend in person and explain to the judge your concerns about retaliation and the fact that you think your evidence will not be helpful to the case. Obviously if you attend you are complying with the summons so you cannot criticised for disobedience but when you are physically in the Court building you could be called into the court room to give evidence which would defeat the object of what you're trying to achieve which is not to give evidence in the trial where there may be repercussions for you and your family. If the judge thinks that your evidence is material to the case then you will be called to give evidence and you will have very little choice about that I'm afraid. The judge might decide that you would benefit from special measures and/or anonymity; but that kind of decision will only be made on Monday when you speak to the court or the judge directly.

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