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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71048
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was involved in an incident with my boyfriend outside my

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I was involved in an incident with my boyfriend outside my house when he was drunk and he refused to go home. I called the police and he has been charged with common assault because he grabbed my coat. No one was hurt in the incident. I told the police officer that I didn't want to go to court. I only rang them because I just wanted them to tell him to go home. My boyfriend pleaded not guilty at the hearing because the charge they read out used the term 'by beating.' I have now been summoned as a witness and I don't want to go to court. I spoke to the police and they say that I have to go. Do I have to go to court? What will happen if I don't?

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

Have you called the police before to a personal dispute?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No I haven't

Has he admitted the offence?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He admitted it in his statement but pleaded not guilty at court because of the wording of the charge

He wouldn't have made a statement but are you saying that he admitted laying hands upon you in interview?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes in interview he admitted laying hands on me

That is a problem.

Do you know what he said about it?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He admitted to be drunk and being a pain and that he wouldn't go home and that he grabbed my coat

I am sorry but thats a bit of a disaster.

Why didn't they just caution him? Has he got previous?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes he has got previous but nothing to do with me


That will the reason then.

The difficulty here is that there are things that you can do about your position but he has already admitted the offence and so they will prosecute him on the basis of what he said in interview. He needs to learn to make no comment interviews really for the future although, of course, its best to avoid calling the police at all.

I suppose he could try to argue that he has your implied consent to touch you which is all this assault really amounts to but he has probably said something different to that in interview.

In terms of your position though, 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. On the face of it, there would appear to be a justification for withdrawing here. The injuries were not grave and the police have not been called before. 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.

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

Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your advice. Much appreciated.

No problem and all the best.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’. You can also bookmark my profile