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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My 24 year old daughter has been accused by her ex boyfriend

Customer Question

My 24 year old daughter has been accused by her ex boyfriend of stealing his passport from his newly rented room down the road.
I will explain; her boyfriend Adam, who is from Australia, has been living in my home since August 2013. On March 18 2015 I told him to leave my property after my daughter discovered that he was having a relationship with another girl. When Adam left, he had packed his belongings but did not take them when I asked him to. I had to go to work so I dead locked the doors as I did not want him to come back into my home when no-one was there. I messaged him and told him that I would be back at 6 pm and told him to come then. When he arrived he was drunk and I asked him to hand back his keys before I gave him his things and he refused. He called the police, I spoke with an officer on the phone and the officer told Adam to give my keys back which he then did. I then gave hime his belongings through a window because he was drunk and I did not want him in my house causing a fight. At this point Adam did not open his case (which he had padlocked) or his bags to check if he had all of his items.
A few days after he had moved out my daughter Josie discovered that he was living in a room above the restaurant where he works. She also saw that the other girl's car was parked outside. She went to go in to through the main door which had been left on the latch but her friend Kate stopped her and said they could get into trouble without being 'let' in. At this point, a chef from the restaurant was returning to this property where he also had a room. The chef permitted Josie and Kate to go in after they asked him and told them which was Adam's room. Josie wanted to confront the pair who were still lying about being in a relationship. Josie and Kate went into Adam's room and found them on the bed together. Josie told them what she thought about them in no uncertain terms and then she and Kate left.
Yesterday I had a visit from two CID officers who told me that Adam has accused her of stealing his passport when she entered his room. I asked them if Adam or anyone had seen her take it and they said that the fact he had said that he had had it when he left my home and had unpacked it in his new room was enough for her being suspected of theft. Josie was not at home when they came. They asked if they could search her room and her coat that she had worn. I permitted this and they found nothing. After the officers left I realised that Adam was lying due to the fact that the details he told the police were different from those he had told his mother who had called me the day before. I proceeded to search my home in case he had left it here by mistake and I found it under the cushions on a sofa (that no-one uses) in the dining room where he had slept on his last night in my home.
I phoned the police officers and left a message to say that I had found it. They are coming today to collect it.
I am very worried that my daughter's reputation has been called into question. I know that Adam has lied to the police about his having the passport when he left because it has been here all the time.
Do I have a case for defamation? Does Josie have to talk to the police when they come today? I am aware of how this looks and and worried for her. Please could you help and advise me?
Thank you
Gaynor Sloan
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
There isn't a case in defamation realistically. Ultimately he says she took his passport and indeed she has it. There may be an innocent reason for that but a court is not going to find his claim is false in these circumstances. They haven't found he is lying. He says she took his passport and it has been found in her possession.
In terms of talking to the officers, it might be that they would take no action if the passport is returned. If they are intent though then there isn't really a choice. If she doesn't co operate they will only arrest her.
If she says there is an innocent reason for this then she should really answer questions in interview. Silence is great for people with no defence.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Jo

Thank you. Please could you clarify what you mean by 'silence is great for people with no defence'?

The passport has not been found in her possession, Josie wasn't in the house when I found it.

Surely the burden of proof is on him if he says she took it otherwise anyone could accuse anyone of taking anything. I'm confused

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Saying nothing is great for people without a defence.
It has been found in her possession. Realistically who else but her would be responsible for removing it from him? It isn't going to be you, is it?
The burden of proof is upon him but the fact that it was found on a property under her control is fairly overwhelming.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

But she didn't take it. He left it here

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes and that is her defence.
Whether it is accepted or not is another matter.
He may well ask why it wasn't returned to him with his other belongings. He may be saying this is theft by retention.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Are you joking?

It wasn't returned to him because I did not know it was here

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I think he is probably saying that she deliberately withheld it.
Unfortunately there are people who do that especially with passports.
It might not be accepted that all of his other possessions were returned to him save his passport which was found almost immediately upon the arrival of the police.
I'm really sorry but I'm not going to be able to tell you she has nothing to worry about. Sadly withholding a passport in particular is classic relationship abuse. Obviously that doesn't mean that has happened here but that is what they will be thinking.