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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71141
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have been sent a court summons to attend court as a witness

Customer Question

I have been sent a court summons to attend court as a witness do I have to attend? if not what would happen to me? the case has traumatised me and made my medical condition worse. I have a doctors note asking that I be excused court but the witness protection have said it needs to be more detailed. The case is a criminal case.
Thank you
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.
Would this happen to arise from a domestic squabble by any chance?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It was domestic violence. my neighbours were arguing and the wife locked him out of the house. their dog was outside and needed his insulin injection which was in the house. I persuaded my neighbour to let the dog in and when letting the dog in he barged past me and then started to smash their house up with an axe. I gave a statement on the night and they have now summoned me to court which is making me feel unwell.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, never get involved in their relationship nonsense. I can understand you wanting to protect the dog but in future just leave these two childish people to it.
Do you know if there have been other calls to this address? Have you witnessed the police being summonsed to their rows on other occasions?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

They have had many rows that I have stayed out of. but my question is if the cps summons me to court is there any way not to attend court.

Thank you

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
If they have a long history of calling the police to this nonsense then probably the Crown will be very keen to pursue this.
You are on a witness summons. They obviously take the view that you do give material evidence.
Failing to attend on a summons is contempt of court. It is very rarely prosecuted but you are more at risk because you are not the alleged victim so they can take a harsher approach. Whether they would or not is another matter. I prosecute all the time and I always think it is a huge shame when people who are law abiding and normal and don't waste resources get caught up in things like this by people who do.
The other alternative open to the Crown is to seek a witness warrant for your arrest. They may do that although if they cannot find you at your address there is no point.
In terms of a medical note, it is possible to escape a summons if the note actually says unfit for court but it quite hard to get doctor's to accept that high test.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your advice in order to give evidence do you always have to attend court? or are there other ways around it? how do you mean if they can't find me at home?

Thank you

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
There are other ways but they are not appropriate in this case. They can do video links for people who are actually lying in a hospital bed for instance but that doesn't arise here.