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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hello, I was arrested and cautioned for affray in April this

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Hello, I was arrested and cautioned for affray in April this year. Basically what happened was a friend was attacked (punched) from the side as we walked along the street. I was walking behind and instinctively tried to stop the person from hitting my friend, i threw two punches, the whole thing lasted about 20 seconds. Unfortunately there were two police officers on the other side of the road and they immediately came across and arrested me. I was taken down to the station and put in a police cell for about 5 hours. I should point out that i had been drinking that day and i would say i was drunk (Over 5 or 6 pints). The police took me to the interview room and i stupidly refused solicitor representation. I've never been in trouble with the police before and thought if i was honest it would be all be over quicker. The police officer interviewing me encouraged me to admit guilt of affray as he said they had clear CCTV evidence. So i accepted the caution as i was under the impression that a caution was just slap of the wrist. All of the events at the station are a bit cloudy as i was under the influence of alcohol. I would say i was not in a fit state to be interviewed. Basically is there anything i can do, or is that it? they didn't question any of my friends who were present, nor the friend who was assault.


Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What are you hoping to do?

I presume you accept what is said and its just unfortunate that it was witnessed by officers
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I feel the charge of affray was harsh, i didn't even know what Affray was until I got home and looked it up. Is it possible to get the charge changed?


I just need 10 mins to type out an answer if thats ok?

I'm afraid its fairly bad news though.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes that's fine..

Thanks for the information.

I know this isn’t going to be the answer you want to hear, and it’s certainly not what I want to tell you. However, I wish to be completely honest with you, so I feel obligated to not give you false hope.

I am sorry but you cannot just appeal from a caution. You have to admit the offence to get a caution. Its like a guilty plea at court so you would only be appealing from yourself. That is possible sometimes but not here. To appeal a guilty plea you have to argue that the plea was not unequivocal which cannot be the case here as you have to say words that amount to an admission of the offence in interview or sign the officer's notes.

In any event, even if you did appeal successfully that would only mean that they could charge you. There is fairly overwhelming evidence here as there are police officer witnesses and CCTV and you don't deny the acts alleged. The only point to that would be that it is quite unlikely they would charge you with affray but drop down under s4. However that would lead to a conviction and a much harsher sentence than a caution.

I suppose you could try to exclude your comments in interview under s78 PACE as on the basis that you will still drunk but the problem with that is that they won't accept that. There are lots of checks upon a persons fitness while in police custody and its very unlikely that they will accept that all of those failed on this occasion. In any event, they have other evidence for the officers and CCTV.

All you could do is judicially review the decision to caution. I suppose you could argue that there was a procedural irregularity in the reliance on your comments in interview because it were in drink. That may not attract legal aid though and you have to prove that you were not fit during interview which is difficult.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
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