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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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I called the police after my son slammed his bedroom door

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HI. I called the police after my son slammed his bedroom door and then started smashing up his bedroom (actually he was damaging his own property but I didn't know that at the time). After arresting him there was very small damage done to the door, which was just a question of pushing a panel back. I said I didn't want to press charges. He was bailed as they searched his bag which I took down to the station and they found a pill (was valium) and went back yesterday. They said they will not take the valium issue any further but have given him a caution for criminal damage. He admitted to the "crime" - probably because he was very stressed at the time and probably didn't realise exactly what damage he had done/not done to the door. I really don't want him to have this caution. If I didn't press charges then would they still have been able to charge him? My understanding is that they cannot give a caution if they don't have enough evidence to charge him?
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.
Oh yes, they can. All they have to do is make an offer and he has to accept it. He should not accept it unless there is enough evidence to convict but that is a different point entirely.
I'm really sorry but I'm afraid that if you call the police there is no way of controlling the situation thereafter. The only way to avoid this is not to summons up the police.
He has admitted the offence so it is game over. Either he accepts the caution or he will be convicted at court on the basis of his admissions. It wouldn't have happened if you hadn't called the police or if he hadn't admitted it but you did and he did and you can't turn the clock back now.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Jo.
So they don't need any evidence to give a caution? They just need the person to admit to something?
I don't suppose the fact he was/is suffering from anxiety/depression makes any difference?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
They do need evidence but a confession in interview is evidence.
In any event, they do have your allegation as they will not allow you to withdraw.
Depression is a non issue I'm afraid.
I'm really sorry but the only way to avoid this is to sort out personal disputes internally. Once you call the police you lose control. That is not to say that he was not behaving in a way that was unacceptable and you had every right to punish him but calling the police is not the way to achieve it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I gues that means you can be prosecuted for a crime you think you may have done but which didn't actually happen.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok. No problem. I guess it pays not to tell the truth. I shall remember for future reference.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
You could accept a caution in principle for such a crime.
People do sometimes plead guilty in circumstances where they are wrong to do so.
But they do have evidence here. They have the 999 call from you and you would have made these assertions to an offer which is admissible hearsay. Also if this is a council property or otherwise rented then the losser is the council or the landlord so it doesn't really rest upon your allegation.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Well, you can't lie. That is unlawful in some circumstances and always unethical.
But saying nothing is golden.
In fairness, these disputes can be sorted out without the need to involve authority and then you won't need to worry about any of this.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can't seem to send my phone number. There is some background to this. The police had been called earlier as my son had threatened suicide (and was classified high risk). I called them again later as I was worried and thpought he was smashing up his room. (I didn't know until after he'd been taken away what damage had been done). I think he admitted to something that he was told he had done. So the evidence is 1) that I was worried. 2) I thought the door was damaged when I 1st looked, but after it turned out it wasn't.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
It depends what he has admitted.
If we are honest with each other, you have probably said more than that or they wouldn't have arrested him for criminal damage.
The trouble is that the door isn't his property. It might be his room but that is your internal arrangement. If the officer has seen some damage and he has admitted causing it then that is made out.
The only way to test this is to refuse the caution and invite them to charge but then obviously you take the risk of conviction. Might pay off.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok, thanks. Actually, I don't even know what he was actually arrested for but assume it must have been that. Can you refuse a caution after having accepted it?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Not if it is already accepted.
Usually it would be as you are released from the police station but sometimes they do bail people.
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