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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Father is charged with assault by battery on child by police;

Customer Question

Father is charged with assault by battery on child by police; prosecution approved by cps. Meanwhile in family court (application for variation in contct and simultaneous application for breach of contact order) results in judge deciding that it's not in child's interests to give evidence against his father. Video evidence (child is 6 at time of alleged offence) already obtained by police. On basis of family court out come; criminal defence decide that they will apply to court so that video evidence is not accepted. Asking for child to give evidence in person. Based on family court ruling; cps drop case. Could this amount to abuse of process?
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.
Is there any reason you think it might?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It seems a coincidence. Family matters ran alongside criminal matters. Both issues were being dealt with with police disclosure by the same chambers. Not all witnesses were called to family court.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, but they wouldn't be normally. They are considering different things.
The criminal courts were never going to force a child to give evidence against his father. Adult women who call the police to family rows are one thing but children are entirely another. There is clear case law to that effect.
this doesn't amount to an abuse of process. This is just a public interest consideration and clearly, I'm afraid, a reasonable one. Six year olds shouldn't never be giving evidence unless essential to the public interest in a very grave offence. In addition it is damaging to their relationship which is more important in the long run.
If this is a common assault then the public interest does not way in favour of a prosecution. Common assaults can be committed in many ways but many fall within lawful chastisement and anyway many others happen in most homes and just are not reported. Sadly, partners involved in a relationship breakdown are more likely to report each other and that is a consideration for the crown.
I'm very sorry but there is no deliberate manipulation of the courts process. It is just a public interest decision which I'm afraid cannot be faulted. In the circumstances it is more surprising that they ever charged at all
Can I clarify anything for you?