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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Criminal MatterA believes he has witnessed a crime against

Customer Question

Criminal Matter
A believes he has witnessed a crime against B.
A has made a witness statement. A has not yet signed it. The Police have asked A to attend the station today to do so.
A wishes to withdraw the statement.
Can A do so?
What is the procedure?
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.
I presume A has made assertions of a crime to an officer?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes that is correct

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Has A done this before?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No. Its the first time

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
What did she allege?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sexual assault

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
What were the facts alleged?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sustained sexual assault by step parent. A saw marks on B's body. A advised B to go to the police. B did so. A made a witness statement.

As I understand the position there are one or two possible outcomes.

1. The police give A a ticking off and drop the matter.

2. The police arrest A under suspicion of wasting police time.

I further understand that pursuant to the Criminal Law Act 1967, section 2, a person wastes police time if

a) they make a false report,

b) they give reasons to worry about another's safety and

c) they show that they have information useful to an enquiry.

As far as the police are concerned they want the witness statement signed in order to present the same to the CPS, since without it, the witness statement cannot be used in evidence (Criminal Justice Act 1967, section 9), (albeit in my opinion the statement aids the defence and is inadmissible since it is mainly third party evidence).

A has not given a false report.

A has given reasons to worry about another person's safety.

A has given information useful to the enquiry.

Given the serious nature of the alleged offence, if A refuses to co-operate with the police there is a danger that A could face prosecution.

Am I shooting in the right direction?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, not really.
The bigger risk is that they will arrest her for perverting the course of justice.
It depends what her retraction says. If she says it didn't happen then they could arrest her for perverting as either that statement or the original is untrue.
If she says that it did happen but she doesn't want to give evidence then they may well just summons her. They do have a policy of doing that now. The days when people could make allegations and withdraw them at leisure have gone really.
They might give her a wasting police time fine. If they do then that is wonderful but it isn't really likely. These are serious allegations and if they are untrue then wasting police time doesn't really cover it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry Jo I do not fully understand.

It is the witness who wishes to withdraw the statement, not the alleged victim...

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, a witness is subject to the same laws.