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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 69359
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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We believe a false statement has been made about a

Customer Question

We believe a false statement has been made about a vulnerable family member to a police officer by a care home manager about the severity of an alleged assault. Whilst they are not pressing charges against our family member they are using the severity of the incident and holding out concerns about what the police officer alleged to say in return in care review meetings that could affect his future and placement. What offences has the care manager committed and how can we best bring them to account?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry if I am missing the point but which offences do you think may be committed?

This is not a false report? It is just an exaggeration of the injury?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
because they are not pressing charges this isn't an offence of giving false evidence? But they say the officer said "I could take him away if you want" at a review meeting to make the incident sound more serious. Defamation? The exaggeration has a purpose and it is to deflect attention from their failure to support JB (our relative) in his communication and pretend there is an escalation of behaviours when he is frustrated. What happened to the truth being important? I would have thought especially so when dealing with the Police? What they do and the picture they paint could affect where JB can live and the quality of the rest of his life.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

No, the fact that a report is made and withdrawn or not pursued by CPS doesn't mean it amounts to an offence. Reports are regularly not acted upon but that doesn't mean that it is proven that they are false.

I'm not sure what the defamation is? This could amount to defamation for certain but you will need to be clearer about what specific statement you are concerned about.

If the report is not untruthful but does contain exaggerations then it is quite unlikely that would amount to a defamation. It is possible but not likely. It depends upon the exact nature. Also, there are usually two sides to an exaggeration and it is therefore difficult to prove what has been exaggerated.

In any event, defamation is not a criminal offence.

If you can be clearer I might be able to offer more.

In terms of the truth being important, people lie all the time to the police. That is more common than truthful reports. Sometimes they lie upon unimportant things and sometimes upon more important things. They shouldn't but they do. That is the real reason for the low conviction rate upon sexual offences. It is nothing to do with outdated sexist attitudes. It is the volume of false allegations that leads to a high conviction rate. They are almost never prosecuted for perverting.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Jo. So just to be clear, they told the police "JB repeatedly punched staff hand over hand in the face and in his recent behaviours we are concerned that he is now targetting the head". They instituted "emergency" procedures for the protection of their staff - 2 to 1 and panic alarms on the basis of this and called an emergency care meeting seeking to increase medication (not upheld), and have started to make noises about having to move him. The incident form records the normal pattern of behaviour when they fail to support him properly - he hits them on the arm. They are now denying they said the stuff about hitting in the face. As JB is non verbal he can't defend himself. The Police officer told me when I rang him that their visit was routine as the care home policy was to call the Police if an assault takes place in public. They told the care review meeting that the Police "offered to take JB away", and whatever they said to his Social Worker prompted him to talk about the possibility of sectioning him. So the offences include abuse and lying to cover it up. We have raised with safeguarding and they may well take it seriously but we wanted to know what criminal or civil action we could also start. If your advice is unchanged by this fuller explanation, then thank you - I am astounded, but then perhaps I should learn not to be - dishonesty is a very dangerous weapon in this arena, but we do seem to be mostly alone in recognising that.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

What was the actual truth?

In what way was this exaggerated?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he hit on the arm. I prefer falsify to exaggerate. Thanks for your time - it is clear you do not want to understand. I assume you won't be billing?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

In that case, I will opt out.

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