How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask JGM Your Own Question
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12174
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
Type Your Scots Law Question Here...
JGM is online now

There,I have a question about a recent visit from two

This answer was rated:

Hi there,
I have a question about a recent visit from two police officers who came to see me regarding a visit I had paid to a neighbor's house after his children had been intimidating, harassing and assaulting mine on a number of occasions.
I was angry at the time and swore at the chap once and spoke to him in a raised voice, he was the only person at the door of the house and I thought nothing more of it, I would have been quite happy to leave it at that.
The police advised me that him and his wife has signed statements saying I had swore at him twice and caused alarm to the man which constitutes a breach of the peace.
The police advised me that because two of them had signed a statement that "I did not have a leg to stand on" and that I could make it all go away by accepting the charge and paying a spot fine, I explained that there were not two people at the door and that I only swore once and raised my voice when the man was gesturing to me in an antagonising manner so their statement was false in some respects however they advised me that if I challenged this that I risked a criminal record.
I since have obviously googled whether two "independent" witnesses can be from the same family and it appears they can't, it also appears that I have accepted the charge and also made statements incriminated myself in front of the two police officers because to the misleading advice provided at the outset which I can only assume was to save them paperwork and hassle.
My job requires that I submit a criminal record check every 6 months so I cannot take any risk of anything appearing on it.
I now fear that this acceptance will leave me exposed to further abuse and harassment by this family who are notorious for it without being able to respond without this acceptance of guilt being used against me.
Can you advise me on what options I have please.
Kind Regards,
Mark Mackay. ***********
Thank you for your question.
Firstly, you don't need two independent witnesses to prove a charge. A charge has to be proved by corroborated evidence, which means there has to be two sources of evidence. The quantity and quality of the evidence and whether it is taken into account by the court is a matter for the court. The fact that two witnesses are related is something for the court to consider when assessing the credibility and reliability of the witnesses.
Let's say that the court believes that only one witness was present on the doorstep. That leaves nothing as any confession you made can't be used unless you were formally cautioned and given the opportunity to have a solicitor present (see Starr v HMA).
So they can't get a conviction on that basis. You also gave cause for complaint against the officers who really shouldn't be giving you advice about what to say without giving you the chance of a solicitor being present.
I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
JGM and other Scots Law Specialists are ready to help you
Sorry, not Starr, that is another case. It should be the case of Cadder v HMA on the UK Supreme Court website.