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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71051
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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How can me and my sister get charges of assault dropped because

Customer Question

How can me and my sister get charges of assault dropped because they never happened
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

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

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 but from reading your other post they probably will here.

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.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Also does my boyfriend have to let the police in his property when they come to check he's in just because he's on bail
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
It depends on the conditions but if he is on a curfew bail then probably there is a condition to present himself at the front door.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
He is not on a curfew just conditions to stay away from me but I want to see him if they just randomly come round does he have to let them in
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
They shouldn't be doing that.

If anything they should be attending at your house but thats not likely to happen.

They are just covering themselves in the event that it all kicks off again.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
They did come round yesterday randomly and the door was open and they seen me at his address leading to his arrests he only has conditions to reside at his address and not to be in contact with me or my sister so if they did show up at door does he have to open it to prove he's there or could he just speak threw window
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Then he has conditions to reside at his address so they are entitled to check it.

Unfortunately he will probably be at a disadvantage as he is in breach of bail.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
But does that mean he has to let them in when they call round
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
It depends on the bail condition.

If it says to live and sleep then there may be a condition to present himself at the front door.

If its just to reside then probably not although, of course, if they have reasonable grounds to believe you at the property then they do have rights of entry.