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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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I have been investigated , stupidly, my ex-partner's

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I have been investigated for accessing, stupidly, my ex-partner's Facebook account. This initially began as a harassment investigation but is now being cited as computer misuse offence. Initially I was offered a Community Resolution and subsequently admitted it in interview. After the interview, the CR offer was withdrawn and instead a caution offered. They have stated that because of the domestic connotation that a CR will not be considered. My understanding, albeit it varies force to force, that CRs will not be considered for domestic violence or coercive behaviour. I wouldn't think this fits this category.
- My questions are: --- is there a breach of process with the interview and offer, and withdrawl, of the CR. --- do you think CPS would see any public interest in taking this to court if the caution was not accepted? Thanks.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
If you admitted the offence on the basis that you would be offered a community resolution if you did then there is an argument that amounts to an abuse of process essentially because you had a legitimate expectation of a community resolution.
The problem with that though is that you would have to refuse the caution and invite them to charge you to argue it.
If you are male and she is female then CPS will not even consider theses points. Some reviewing lawyers are worse than others but you would not go far wrong at the moment if you thought of them as witch finder generals.
In fairness, it was never really suitable for a community resolution. It is domestic nonsense. It isn't something that can be solved in that way.
I don't know whether you refused the offer of a solicitor but it is probably not a good idea to admit offences at the police station otherwise than upon advice. It is very unlikely they could have proven this.
Sorry if this is bad news.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for your reply.

The information they gleamed was from the victim's sister-in-law who accessed a Facebook activity report. They have not got any independent information?? Also, they claim I accessed it 25 times in one day. That certainly didn't happen. I can only think that it stayed logged-on on my phone but I can't prove this very well.

Can you clarify what you mean about the CPS considering points? They wouldn't care about the abuse of process and would just run with it?

It is domestic nonsense and, whilst I am hugely remorseful, shouldn't have got this far. My thoughts were that a letter of apology might fit a CR. The DI (CID are investigating this) doesn't seem to be backing down on the abuse of process aspect. My job is at risk from all of this so want to cover all the avenues.



No, and they would have found it very difficult to prove but you have admitted it.
CPS would not consider this issue before authorising a caution. It is an argument for the defence to raise at court.
They are always domestic nonsense. Whatever you read in the papers, there isn't much genuine domestic abuse in the UK. Most of it is just childish people using the police to mediate their rows.
A letter of apology is a possibility but what will have happened is that they will have asked the complainant who will have said that she remembers years of abuse at your hands and receiving a letter from you would be like reliving the horrors of your sadism. A CR requires the 'victim' to agree. A genuine victim may agree. A childish person using the police to get revenge may not.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Since this happened last Autumn, we have spoken again and I genuinely believe that she does not want to pursue a formal complaint anymore.

She has said that she has tried to withdraw the complaint but that CID have said they have sufficient evidence and would run it victimless.

CID are dealing with it because I am a serving police officer. I don't think I am being dealt with very fairly. Yes I have done wrong - at a tremendously stressful and hard time - but I am not criminal. I did it to check on the status of our house that she was still living in. I didn't stalk her.

I stand to lose my job from all of this.

Yes, they will. Their current policy is to pursue these things.
No, you are being dealt with fairly although nobody really is. Domestic violence generally doesn't involve proper criminals. It just plain relationship issues.
Didn't the police federation offer you a designated solicitor at the time of interview? The problem with that is that you have already admitted it so they will pursue this.
CPS should take into account the impact it will have upon your work but the reality is that, if anything, they will say the fact that you are an officer is an aggravating feature. We both know what they are like about domestics.
For what it is worth, I am not actually sure that checking a facebook status is stalking in law but the point is that you seem to have admitted something.
If they will not grant a CR then the only way to contest this is to refuse a caution and invite a charge and fight the matter.
You might want to get advice from the Police Federation over whether there is an arguable case in the light of the admissions you have made.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for your thoughts.

They aren't looking at stalking - they are looking at a computer misuse act offence. Surely this isn't aimed or designed for social media stuff - where such minor things have occurred?

Thanks for your advice.

No, it isn't. But, to be wholly honest, you could apply that to lots of offences. I don't think that Parliament intended the offence of common assault to be used for situations where somebody throws a cushion at another person. It was designed for people who hit each other. Unfortunately the words of the legislation include other situations than the ones at which it was aimed.
The Computer Misuse Act was designed for people who try to hack into banks and things of that kind.
However, I rather suspect the harassment legislation wasn't designed for personal disputes either and we both know the reality.