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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71031
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My son was on tag got arrested due to family argument missed

Customer Question

My son was on tag got arrested due to family argument missed probation next day due to being in custody police want to interview me not willing to press charges on my son it wasn't all his fault what's my best way of keeping him out of trouble
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

My name is Jo and I will try to help with this. In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

Has he made contact to explain the situation?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
My son was done for gbh in crown court a month a go his terms were one month tag 1200 pounds compensation 200 hours of community service police got called to our address Friday due to a family row broke out my son was hitting his bedroom wall with a hammer He never hit any one but his brother restrained him my son is due to see a counsellor due to he does get anger on the whole he is a good kid he has just started a job apprentaship I would hate for him to in to serious trouble over a matter which happened in our home his step dad has thrown him out at the moment so he stayed at my friends Saturday but we in formed the tag people of his present situtiation at home
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
How did he come to be in police custody following a family row? We all have rows. They don't end in police custody normally.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I phoned the police which was silly of me
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Ok. We all make mistakes. Lesson learnt I suppose. As soon as you call the police, you lose control these days.

Is this the first incident at your house? Have the police been called before?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No. Police have not been called for any arguments in the home before but they took the hammer as my son had hit his wall in anger also. Drink was involved I should not of called the police I know but I was concerned on my sons anger he never hit any one but I'm more worried he is in serious trouble over this
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

The short answer is that you cannot just not press charges but there are things that you can do about this.

If you have made a statement then the case is no longer yours. A statement is just evidence like any other. It does not have to be in written form. Even a oral declaration to a police officer is evidence. Once evidence is obtained by the Crown you cannot withdraw it from them.

What you can do is tell the prosecution that you don't want to support any further prosecution. This is where the complication lies.

I realise that the background to this has nothing to do with you and is not of your creation but it might help you to understand the position.

Traditionally when complainants said that they were reluctant the prosecution was dropped. That has encouraged abuse from some sections of society.

Sadly, genuine victims of domestic abuse are not the only people who do call the police to domestic incidents. Some people, and it's not only women, seem to use the police as a mediation service and call them to almost every argument in the house. Also, some people make reports to the police knowing that they never intended to give evidence but just to get their partner out of the house for the evening.

This has led to understandable frustration amongst police officers. To deal with that they have turned to a policy of summonsing a reluctant witness.

They do not summons in every case. It's fair to say that sometimes people are allowed to withdraw. The fact they have the hammer is no issue. This isn't a public place so they cannot argue its an offensive weapon. This is the first argument in your house although obviously his previous will be a consideration. There was no other significant aggravation.

However, there are some CPS reviewers who are militant, or just fail to consider the case properly, and will summons in circumstances where they should not.

If they do summons then you will have to think about what you want to do. Failing to answer a summons is a contempt of court in principle although it would not be prosecuted. I've only ever seen one prosecution for contempt arising from failing to answer a summons and that involved a person who has been a real drain on police resources.

What they might do is issue a witness warrant for your arrest to put you before the court to give evidence. There is about a 1% chance of that happening. That is preserved for people who are very well known to the constabulary.

In any event, there is a bit of a debate over whether or not attending court and refusing to give evidence amounts to a contempt. I have to say that I do not think that it does. The summons binds you to attend the courthouse building. It does not force you to go into the witness box and, unless you are in breach of a court order there is no contempt of court. For what it's worth, I prosecute fairly regularly and if a witness just refuses to go into the witness box I have no means of forcing them to do so.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.