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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10401
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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We had a small gathering with around 10 people at our

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We had a small gathering with around 10 people at our apartment, that evening a neighbours car got egged and has caused damage which he is claiming will cost £1000+ to fix. Our next door neighbour who was very drunk, and also at the gathering, is claiming he saw myself and some friends throwing the eggs, however we didn't. The victim has reported the crime to the police and my neighbour has contacted the victim saying it was us. 5 weeks later the police visited to say I had been accused of the crime, and wanted me to go to the police station to give a statement and provide more details of the people/events from that night. There are 5 people who I know would give statements saying it wasn't myself who did it, and that we didn't see any eggs being thrown that evening. So what would happen now, with it coming down to an extremely drunk witness's word against ours? We believe our neighbour is trying to blame us for a crime we didn't commit. Also that morning after the alleged evening, my neighbour entered my flat without permission, woke me up and let in the victim who was at the door and then proceeded to accuse me of the crime. Then 4 weeks later he asked if we could have a chat and explained he was feeling bad for the victim and had offered to pay towards the damage being fixed if we contributed the rest, to avoid this going to court and to obviously fix the innocent guys car. What should I expect at the police station? Does this have a strong chance of going to court? Is there strong enough evidence/is it in the public interest? What would the punishment be if convicted?

What was the lasting effect after the eggs washed off?

Is the person whose car was damaged the one who is claiming that he saw you and the others throwing the eggs? I don’t think it is but I need you to clarify?

How did the neighbour get into the flat?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The victim is saying the cars paintwork has been damaged all over due to the acids in the egg. I've had a look as I've been walking by one morning and I couldn't see any damage myself. When he came round to talk to us he said the car needs a full respray and said if we paid for it he wouldn't take it any further, but on the communal facebook page, he posted a picture of the car the morning after (the first we heard about it) and it had only been hit once by an egg.No it isn't. But they are friends. The neighbour who lives next door who was present that night is the person saying it was us. The victim also lives in the block but wasn't there that night.We have a large shared balcony, so he walk over to our flats side and came into my bedroom through the unlocked balcony doors and unlocked the front door to let in the victim without my consent.

If the police are involved this is criminal damage provided it is possible for the matter to be proved (if it eventually gets to court) who did this, beyond all reasonable doubt.

It may be that he is looking to you to respray the full car because it needs re-spraying anyway and this is the kind of excuse he has been looking for. Before offering anything whatsoever I would want a third party inspection of the paintwork.

With regard to letting the alleged victim in, that is trespass by both of them however trespass is not a criminal matter, it’s a civil matter and hence, the police will not be interested in all probability.

Because the witness and the victim are friends, there is no independent witness testimony and for that reason it seems unlikely that the police would push this for a prosecution for criminal damage particularly of the alleged damage to the car can hardly be seen.

It would be unlikely to prove the matter beyond all reasonable doubt as to who did it if indeed it was done at all.

A similar claim on the other hand is decided on the balance of probabilities and hence, the judge only needs to prefer one version of events to the other and that version succeeds.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please rate the service positive. It’s an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

We can still exchange emails. Best wishes.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,So what should I expect at the police station interview? I have never been to one before. The officers who came round to visit said there will be an on duty solicitor who me and the other people can speak to before giving statements. Would they consider your past when deciding if to charge? As I have no previous dealings with the police.Please could you expand on this point: 'A similar claim on the other hand is decided on the balance of probabilities and hence, the judge only needs to prefer one version of events to the other and that version succeeds'. Are you saying that if the police did proceed with prosecuting us that the judge would then just choose the story they prefer after hearing both sides stories?If the witness accusing us was extremely drunk, and there are 4/5 others supporting this statement, how much does this factor into the witness being reliable?And finally they said if it did go to court and I/one of my friends were charged, they would be liable for the court fee's and the damage. What is a typical amount for 'court fee's'? It seems very vague.

They will probably interview you under caution which means that they will advise you that you’re entitled to have a solicitor present. If you don’t have a solicitor you can use the duty solicitor.

You can answer no comment to everything or answer the specific questions but it’s never advisable to know comments on questions but answer others. It’s either one thing or the other.

You will be given a copy of any recording.

If it is recorded, then it is not an interview under caution.

Just answer the questions and generally, don’t volunteer anything.

I apologise for the typographical error, it should be “a civil claim” not a similar claim.

In a civil claim, the judge has to prefer one version of events more than the other whereas for a criminal claim, it has to be decided beyond all reasonable doubt.

If the witness was extremely drunk and there are other witnesses who will attest to that, then it does bring his evidence into doubt.

The court fees in a civil claim are related to the amount of the claim here:

In a criminal case, apart from any fine or community service, there would normally be prosecution costs of a few hundred pounds.

Please don’t forget to rate the service positives so that I get paid. We can still exchange emails. Best wishes.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi,Thank you for that. So just to confirm, in this instance given above, the police would be questioning me and my friends for 'criminal damage' which I assume is a criminal claim, meaning it has to be proven beyond all reasonable doubt if the matter went to court? And in order for this to happen, the police have to believe there is a high possibility of a conviction (beyond all reasonable doubt) and the Crown Prosecution Service have to agree to let this go to court by deeming the witness to be reliable?After I receive your response I will rate the service, thank you very much for your help.

Your understanding is absolutely correct. Best wishes.

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