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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69369
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was told that if I gave the police a witness statement and

Customer Question

I was told that if I gave the police a witness statement and helped them, I would not have to appear in court - I double checked this. It turned out to be a lie and Im now being forced to attend..they said the police officer was new to the job and really shouldn't have progressed with my statement knowing I didn't want to go to court...that doesn't help me now as they seem to think it's fine to just brush it off. The testimony regards ***** ***** of ours who is being done for fraud, she has openly slandered us and almost ruined our business before and I believe, will do so again. We want nothing more to do with this trial - we just want to be left in peace...but I'm terrified of the outcome. We just can't go through this again - can we do anything?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
Are you summonsed?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
They have sent me/us a letter saying I need to attend and recently we had a visit from someone in the police to judge our suitability to be on the stand as we had issues with it. He seemed strangely satisfied when both myself and partner got really upset over it all in front of him and said he would pass on that I was basically a real mess and shouldn't be on the stand - that it was affecting our health and we had serious worries about our future business, to the CPS. He did this and met with them - they have basically ignored it all, as the defence...the defence of the woman that nearly destroyed us - want us in court to ask us some questions. I've told them no, I just can't do it. I seriously can't. We've lives this non-stop for ages now and I'm falling apart with worry.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
Ok. So are you summonsed?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I have a letter saying, reminder that your testimony is needed in the court trial etc etc, I'm not sure what counts as being 'summonised'.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
Is that from witness service or from the court?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Criminal Justice System - Prosecution Team
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
By the way - the links saying to view my answer, on your emails, don't work.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
Ok. Come what may, you have made a statement and the defence won’t allow them to read it. If the Crown want to use your evidence then they have to get you to court to be cross examined. It is difficult to tell whether you are on a summons or not. Even if you are not, if you tell them you are reluctant they may well seek one. If this is a Crown Court matter then there is risk that they may as this will have been an expensive prosecution. You can always make a retraction statement but they might not deter them I'm afraid. Can I clarify anything for you? Jo
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Does the fact that she has publicly slandered our business in the local community, along with her nasty crowd of friends mean nothing? We are a two-person tiny business and rely heavily on local people and social media, I can't go through all that again. I can't sleep, I'm sick with worry 24/7 and just want them to leave us alone...how can the police just brush off the fact that the policeman told us we wouldn't have to attend? They said he was new to the job and should have walked away once we told him that...so he just gets off with doing this to us?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
No, not really. No real nexus to the offence.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
It doesn't really matter what he said. The point is that you have given the police evidence and they seek to use it.The defence won't let them read it because they challenge something you've said.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I'm just looking for anything at all we can do here, I'm desperate and no one tells us anything. To be called for her defence is a sickening thought too. Can you tell me more about a retraction statement? do we have any other options at all here? We've done nothing wrong here but they are treating us like criminals. It is crown court. The only letters I've had are two from the CJS, one saying 'notice to attend XXX' and one saying 'reminder that your evidence is required for trial'
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
You can always make a retraction statement but they might not deter them I'm afraid.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
It is not likely they are going to let you retract if this is a Crown Court matter. It will have cost huge sums of taxpayer's money.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
But you may be lucky.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I only gave it to them on the strict understanding we would never have to go to court. The policeman said there were plenty of other witnesses so that would be fine. My partner worked for the woman. I never met her and only spoke to her online..every word I typed to her has been printed up and given to them.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
Yes, I understand.That was either wrong or correct at the time but the position changed. The police do that sometimes to secure evidence.The point is that you have made a statement.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
So a retraction statement is my/our only option? Nothing else I can do or try?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
There are no ways of making this go away for certain.If you retract they will probably summons you.if they summons you and you don't answer then that is a contempt of court which carries up to three months custody.more likely they will seek a witness warrant for you arrest to have you produced at court to give evidence.That said, I did watch two prosecution witnesses go to prison for seven days recently for refusing to give evidence.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
So basically we were stupid for believing them and they can do whatever they want now, no matter the detrimental effect it's having on us.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
They can force you to attend court and give evidence if you have made a statement.In fairness, a S9 statement does sign off with the words 'I am willing to attend court and give evidence if required'.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I feel, as it's her defence, they are going to twist our words and attack us on the stand - there is no other point is making us be there. She's being done for fraud, we have all kinds of nightmares running through our heads about them accusing us of lying and being involved or something stupid. At the end of the day, if our business is ruined, it's not like anyone will give a damn.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Well we didn't see anything like that - we were told to tick a box on the back of the form and that would be fine, we wouldn't have to go to court.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
Oh yes, they may well. That is the same for any witness.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
So what's the chance of a retraction actually working...virtually nil from what I'm understanding?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
There is an outside chance but not high. This will have been expensive for them to prosecute.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
What kind of thing would I need to say in the statement?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
There is nothing that could be said in a statement that would force them to withdraw I'm afraid.This is a fraud prosecution. It will have been extremely expensive to prosecute.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I understand, I'm just asking - if I make a retraction statement - what is the usual wording that would be used. I haven't lied, but I would have to put a reason down for retracting?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
Just tell them you don't want to support the prosecution.You can set out the reasons for that.They won't charge you with anything. You haven't made a false allegation.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Trouble is, its the defence that are calling me, not the prosecution. That makes it 1000 times worse.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
It might be that you have been tendered to the defence but it is much more likely that the defence just want to cross examine you so they won't let the Crown read your evidence.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Would a letter from my doctor help?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
Not really.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
They can address any sensitivities with special measures.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Ok, the short answer is, I'm screwed then.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
They can force you to attend court and give evidence if you have made a statement.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Is there anyway to find out what they want to question us about thats so important? We don't even remember details, this was a few years ago now.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 7 months ago.
No. They don't have to disclose that and they won't.

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