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james bruce
james bruce, Solicitor-Advocate
Category: European Law
Satisfied Customers: 4730
Experience:  Owner at James Bruce Solicitors
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I was seeing someone in a romantic capacity for 4 months

Customer Question

I was seeing someone in a romantic capacity for 4 months from October 2020- feb 2021. It turned out he was violent and abusive. He assaulted me, smashed my car up and then stalked and harassed me after I ended the relationship. Fast forward to around a month ago, I went on a night out and got very drunk and woke up to discover that I had sent him Facebook messages threatening him that I would expose his Grindr chat history unless he gave me £1000 (I found out he was on the gay chat app whilst we were still together). I would never normally use someone’s sexuality against them, I purely did this because I was very drunk and he is an extremely violent and dangerous man who has a history of violence against women, I know this because I was shown a police disclosure as social services contacted me about him because I have children, I was not allowed to have him near my children as he is known to be so dangerous
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: European Law
Expert:  james bruce replied 12 days ago.

Hello, I hope you are well. My name is***** am a solicitor advocate and  I will be assisting you with your question today. I am very sorry to hear of the problem you are experiencing and I will do my best to help you with this matter.

How may I assist?

Expert:  james bruce replied 12 days ago.

Unfortunately, without the additional information requested in my first/previous response, I will not be able to give you detailed advice to your question, but I will be able to give you a general answer, which I hope will be of assistance. If you are able to supply the additional information later, please do so and I will then come back to you with a more detailed answer.

I understand how upsetting it must have been for you in the relationship.

However, what you have done, can be considered as criminal offences.

Being drunk when you did it, is not a defence.

There are two issues here. First is the possible criminal offence of blackmail, where you have demanded £1000 otherwise you will expose information about him to others on social media.

The second issue is whether your actions will also be seen as homophobic because he was on a gay chat app.

The way he treated you is very wrong, and should be reported to the police. They can investigate his actions, your allegations of assault and criminal damage and harassment.

He in turn if he chooses to, can report you to the police for blackmail and possible homophobic hate crimes.

If he has not replied to your "blackmail". Then I would advice that you do not sent, post or do anything else that could worsen the situation. Leave it as it is and see if he does react to your posting.

I hope this helps with your question.

Thank you for using Just Answer and for allowing me to assist you with your legal enquiry. I am pleased I was able to be of assistance. Please do not hesitate to come back to me for further advice on this or any other legal matter. It will be my pleasure to be able to assist you again.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Hi James thanks for your response. What was the additional information you required to give a more detailed response? Many thanks
Expert:  james bruce replied 12 days ago.

I was asking how can I help. The answer I have give however, I hope will answer any question you may have.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I need advice on whether I’m better off admitting guilt and stating the mitigating factors for example the abuse and assault and damage to my car and phone. Or whether I’m better off going the no comment/not guilty route
Expert:  james bruce replied 12 days ago.

Have you been asked to interview by the police?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I’ve been asked to attend a voluntary interview
Expert:  james bruce replied 12 days ago.

When a person needs to be interviewed by police in relation to a criminal allegation, they can either be arrested and taken to a custody centre, or the police can invite them into a police station for a voluntary interview.

When a person attends an interview at a police station as a voluntary attender, they are there voluntarily and are free to leave at any time.

Anyone interviewed by police either under arrest or as a voluntary attender, no matter how serious or trivial the allegation, can have and use the services of the duty solicitor. That service is completely free. You can request the duty solicitor, and should inform the police officer who will carry our the interview of your request before you attend, so as to avoid any undue delays at the station.

When you and the solicitor arrive at the police station for the interview, the solicitor will speak with the officer carrying out the investigation, and obtain what is called advance disclosure. That means they will ask the police for details of the allegation and what evidence they have.

Next, the solicitor will speak privately with you and explain what they have been told and then obtain your instructions. The solicitor will then advice you on whether to answer questions in interview, or to submit a pre written statement or whether to go no comment.

Once the interview is over, the officer would normally say that the matter would still need to be investigated further and then a reviewing officer would check through everything. A file could then be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service if the police think there is evidence for a case. The CPS would then make a decision on whether to prosecute or not.

I would recommend asking for the duty solicitor as stated above.

From what you have already said, it really is pointless going no comment. They would already have his statement and the evidence ie massage you sent. No comment could well lead you to being charge to court for the offence.

What happened to you by him although it took place between the same two people, it is separate offences.

Certainly explain what you did and that you were drunk and that you don't recall doing it apart form seeing the message. Explain what happened to you as well.

That would be my advice.

However, ask for the duty solicitor, they will obtain advance disclosure from the interviewing officer and will advice you face to face what to do once they have received details from the officer.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Can you advise on the likelihood of prosecution if I admit the offence? Do you think there is a chance that it might fail the CPS public interest test as he was violent and harassed me?Secondly, can you advise on potential sentencing range if I do get convicted? I read about a case in which a woman forced £29,000 out of an ex by pretending that she’d given birth to his child and that the child had health problems and died, falsely for the purpose of gaining this money, and she got a two year suspended sentence. Surely what I did must be considered much less harmful than this?Thanks
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Sorry my last point in that message is that I received no money from him at all and retracted the blackmail the next day and apologised
Expert:  james bruce replied 12 days ago.

That is a decision only the CPS could take.

Both of you have committed criminal  offences, tit for tat is no defence. Likewise being drunk.

The that that no money was taken makes little difference, the offence is made by sending the threat in the first place.

But as you have apologised that will go a long way to a decision that should be favourable to you.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thanks. Is there a range of sentencing for blackmail? Is it possible to get a non custodial sentence?
Expert:  james bruce replied 12 days ago.

The offence if charged is indictable only, which means it is dealt with in the Crown Court.

Sentencing can be anything form a fine and community order up to a prison sentence.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Why would I not have been arrested already? What if I just don’t attend the interview
Expert:  james bruce replied 12 days ago.

The police are trying to avoid arresting you thus the invite into be interviewed.

If you refuse, then they will arrest. At which point instead of an interview at the front of the building, you will be taken to the custody centre, property removed, photo, prints, DNA taken, placed into a cell until they are ready to interview you and again after interview until the Sgt is ready to release you, so really your choice.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Noted, thank you so much for your help
Expert:  james bruce replied 12 days ago.

your very welcome.