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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71146
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was in a domestic situation on Saturday with my husband which

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I was in a domestic situation on Saturday with my husband which the police were called they say I cannot withdraw my statements I made and I am being treated like a victim of violence abuse and I am not what can I do please

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

Is this the first time you have made a statement to the police please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes it is

I'm not sure what you wanted to do?

Are you hoping to withdraw?

Did you call the police?

Have you made a statement?

Did that statement end with the words 'I am willing to attend court and give evidence if required'?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I thought I have no choice I have to attend court but I have stated I will not help with a criminal charge against him. Yes I called police and yes I wanted to withdraw statement totally but they say they can use it without me .
What was the allegation that you made against him?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
None just wanted help for him but that didn't happen
Yes, but what allegation did you make?

The police would not have acted unless you made an allegation of some crime or another.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No nothing from me made that quite clear I i would not go down the criminal route just wanted help they investigating what he did he scared me that is all but I told them I would not press charges I want no part of it

Would it be possible to tell me what allegation you made?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I didn't make any allegation against my husband the only reason the police were called was stop him hurting himself
Ok. I understand that you think that but the police could not have prosecuted him without a statement from you.

What did you say to them?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
He hasn't been charged with anything just bailed and can't come home as part of his bail
Yes, I understand.

However, there must have been some allegation of crime against him or the police would just plain have refused to act.

I need to know what you said to the police.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I said l wanted help for his life he had poured petrol over himself and was tying to get into the house they say it damage done to back door handle which declined to comment on
Ok. Thats it.

Do you own the house or is this a council house?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It is a council house it is small damage can fix myself
It doesn't work like that I'm afraid. Now you have brought it to their attention they will pursue it.

Did you make any allegation of threats of violence even very minor?

Or possibly the smallest of asaults like a push?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
We had no physical contact at all the door was between us I was just scared for him harming his self I did not bring to there attention they found it
Is he named on the tenancy agreement?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes it joint tenancy

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 allegation will be criminal damage or possible violence to secure entry. I suppose their concern may be the risk he presents to you and the children.

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.
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