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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi, I pressed charges against my partner last weekend, it

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I pressed charges against my partner last weekend, it all snowballed out of control and even though I know cps will still pursue the case and he has to attend trial in September, I want to drop my charges and have my restraining order lifted. Can you advise me on the best way to do this please? Thank you in advance

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

Have you done this before please? Either in this relationship or in others?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Ive needed to call the police once before but I didn't press charges no
In this relationship?

How long ago?

Is that the only time you've done this in other relationships? If you are always calling the police to personal disputes then it will affect their view of this?

Also, have you made any other allegations of a dissimilar nature?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes in this relationship, I can't remember about 6 months ago but it wasn't for violence, it was to report him drink driving... No I'm not in the habit of calling them, this was a totally unique experience where I was with a friend and it was her that called the police as she was frightened as he was trying to bang her door in.... He's charged with some serious offences, drink driving, 2 x threats to kill, criminal damage, intent to enter property, intent to harm, police have voicemails on our phones which they've recorded but all this is purely alcohol related, he's not a violent person sober and I know he would never hurt me. He needs help which he is getting, not a prison sentence, which he's looking at anyway, but I want to drop my charges and the restraining order. I help run the family business with his brother and it's making life awkward regarding notifying them of work coming in when there's a lot of conditions in place. Plus I know he's not a criminal.
Yes, it is a complete nightmare when the police are called to personal disputes.

He is not on a restraining order. He is on bail conditions.

What did you allege actually took place? What did you say happened?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The police asked me if I wanted a restraining order, I said no, they then pushed for it and as it was late, I'd had no sleep I think I replied with "oh whatever" they did say it'd be applied for but I don't want that...

He'd come to my friends house at 630am drink driving, really angry as I hadn't gone home, tried kicking in the door, threatening to kill us both, her neighbour came out and took down the reg plate and took notes. My partner then disappeared but my friend had already called the police as she was very scared, partner then came back about 45 mins later, same abuse, trying to get in, he was extremely angry but there's wasn't a chance I was going to open the door and attempt to calm him down. He then drove off again and was arrested about an hour later. The police had arrived, took me to the police station, I told them what happened, it's in my statement that we have a perfect relationship aside from when he drinks and we were looking at separating as a result of the drink. He needs help, he's not a monster and I just feel the whole thing just snowballed. I know my friend won't drop her charges and I wouldn't ask her to but I also know he's mortified at what he's done, he knows he's facing prison and I just want him to get help not be treated like a monster
That is really bad news.

I am sorry and I wish I could give you a different answer but there are very unlikely to be any ways out of this now.

The problem with this is that even if you don't give evidence, your friend will and possibly the neighbour will so they can prove it whether you want to support a prosecution or not.

On the face of its, these are serious offences although it might all disappear into a bit of public order. Since you are not always doing this they may have let you wtihdraw but they are not going to drop this if they can prove it in reliance on others.

In relation to a restraining order, he is not on one yet. They cannot just add restraining orders. They have to go to court. He is on conditions of bail. You can make a retraction statement saying that you don't want to support the prosecution. If you are allowed to withdraw then you can apply for variation of bail so that he can have contact with you. If you are summonsed then you can make that application too but it won't be allowed.

If you don't want a restraining order at court then just tell the prosecutor and they won't seek one. This is the first time you've done this and the only other call did not relate to violence. It wouldn't be approrpriate in those circumstances.

I am very sorry but I'm afraid that there are some women who use the police as a marriage guidance service and the police have had enough of it and are summonsing everybody.

Can I clarify anything for you?


Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I understand this and I know it all won't be dropped as there's too much evidence against him, I just no longer wish to support it... How do I retract my statement, or ask for my charges to be dropped, do I just go to the police station? Do I need a solicitor?
Well, I would never suggest you do that. They will just use it to get a summons.

However, here you may as well. They will prosecute anyway.

You just call the police and tell them you don't want to support a prosecution. They may want a statement.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Ok thank you... I have read that even if they do summons me to court, which I've a feeling they will as I told one officer I wouldn't attend court to testify, that even if I am summonsed to attend court I can refuse to go in the witness box, which is a grey area as to whether this is contempt of court, is this true?
It is a grey area but, in truth, I think that in academic law it probably does amount to a contempt. In practice though, its very unlikely that a contempt would be pursued and a prosecutor has no other means of forcing you into the witness box. I have once seen a person literally have to give evidence handcuffed to a dock officer but she was a long standing vexatious accuser who had made literally hundreds of thousands of reports to the police ranging from false claims to truthful claims that no reasonable person would report. Almost every weekend, high day or bank holiday there was an argument in her house which is, of course, a matter of her personal business save for the fact that she kept inviting the police along to play at them! Its just not going to happen.

The bigger problem with refusing to give evidence I have found is that people generally don't do it. It sounds easy. Its a lot harder when people put pressure upon you and threaten fire and brimstone.

That might not happen here because this is your first call but, if this remains a threat to kill, then that is a very serious offence.

Its always very difficult to prove threats to kill. It will probably disappear into S4 public order.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I doubt it as the police retrieved our voicemail messages from mine and my friends phones and have confiscated his phone as evidence... If I am made to testify I'm not going to stand there and villify him, I will support his help for his drink problem which he's getting, it's not as if he even drinks all the time but when he does on occasion he doesn't know when to stop and it turns into a disaster. Doesn't warrant a prison sentence in my eyes, rather rehabilitation and if he wasn't my partner I'd still say the same...he will get great character references from ex policemen that knew his family to support that too....

So I guess my first port of call is to contact the police and withdraw my statement and request a lift of contact restrictions. I'm assuming this won't be granted as I'll still be classed as a witness, with or without my statement?
If he does receive a custodial sentence, as I'm a witness, will he be able to send me visiting orders?
No, of course it doesn't. Its just a bit of domestic nonsense. We all have rows. Unfortunately, that isn't the way the Crown will view it I'm afraid.

Of course, the view of the DPP actually isn't any more valid than yours or mine but she apparently feels she knows better.

You can just tell the police that you don't want to support the prosecution. That isn't evidence. Its just a view that they need to consider.

If he gets custody then, whether you are a complainant or not, you can still visit him.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Ok, thank you, ***** ***** police refuse my wish to drop my charge?
Yes, they can.

They can just get a summons.

Their current policy is not to drop charges because they have reluctant witnesses basically because historically they always did and that lead to a shocking waste of police time.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I will give my reasons as mentioned to you but also state it's affecting family income as we all run a business together and if I can't help them run it I'm losing money income office said tho when I refused restraining order that I should just deal with my partners brother so I don't know if they'll accept that reason either. Any suggestions?
To be wholly honest, they will probably summons.

The only reason they may not is that they don't really need you because they have other witnesses.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
But then if summonsed I'm not going to testify against him in the dock, I will stand up for him in court, I won't need cross examining... I guess ill contact the police and take it from there then. Thank you for your help, much appreciated
No problem and all the best.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Ok, thank you very much
No problem.

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