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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 70289
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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i have been witness summoned to attend a magistrates court

Customer Question

i have been witness summoned to attend a magistrates court to give evidence, i do not want to attend as i have already retracted my statement and have sorted the matter out with the people involved i actually wanted to take my statement back within 12hrs of giving it, the police have just mDE A MASSIVE ISSUE OF THE CASE AND I JUST DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO, I HAVE NOT BEEN ASSAULTED BUT THEY HAVE MADE IT OUT AS I HAVE. CAN YOU HELP ME PLEASE. Their are 2 other people involved to give evidence aswell but they have been assaulted, the police told me as it is a domestic violence case it doesnt matter if i retract my statement. do you need to know anymore. the 2 other people havent been summoned and as far as i know they will not be attending i think their evidence is needed more than mine.
Submitted: 6 years ago via InBrief.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 years ago.


Why did you call the police if you didn't want to press charges?


Or did somebody else call them?

Edited by Jomo1972 on 10/3/2010 at 10:16 PM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the incident took place at my property wher my husband kicked the front door through and and my brother in law came in and started arguing with his girl friend and a family friend i called the police in panic as me and my husband had split up and my 2 little children were in the house i have never been in a situation where i have been involved in the police therefore i never realised how far this would go.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 years ago.

Yes, I know. Its a complete witchhunt.


You shouldn't really have made a retraction statement. They will use that against you.


But you must have made some form of allegation of assault against him? What did you say exactly?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
this is what happened my husband kicked the door through, my brother in law walked in as he was in the hall way i pushed him back with force he then pushed me to the side and walked in to find his girlfriend at this point i rang the police, i saw my bro in law hit his girlfriend but this happened at the end f the incident where they were all ouside the property. when i gave the statement i said the above but the police insisted it was assault although i made it clear i pushed him will they use the retraction against me....what should i do...if i attend court and the other 2 witnesses do not attend what will happen...what it i dont attend?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 years ago.

They will just get a summons using the retraction statement on the basis that you are refusing to give evidence through fear. It would have been better to do nothing.


Sorry, who has been charged here?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
my brother in law has been charged for 3 accounts of battery and forcing entry into the property, 1 of the people that was assaulted has epilepsy and at the time exagerated but since the incident he has also sorted things out he has also tried to retract the statement but he hasnt been able to, he wrote a statement and told me to take it to court with me it says he has resolved the matter and does not want to be a part of the case.when i made the retraction i made it very clear that i was not in any sort of fear.

If the other two people dont attend court on wednesday what will happen with the case, they have not been summoned as the police havent found them at home to produce the summons, do you think it is wise for me to take in the statment the assaulted guy has given or will i be landing myself in more trouble.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 years ago.

No, but thats how they will dress it up.


If you've been summonsed then failing to attend will mean that you are liable to prosecution yourself for contempt of court. That does carry three months custody. Its pretty rarely brought but you cannot ignore the risk.


The other people will have been summonsed if they are reluctant. The police will just send it to their last known address and that is good service.


Im afraid calling the police to domestic squabbles now isn't really an option unless the complainant wants to bring an end to the relationship.


There is one other option than failing to attend but it does carry risk. I can tell you about that if you'd like.


Im happy to discuss the above but please remember to click on accept so that I can get credit. I will continue to help.


Jo C. and other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
yes please could you tell me about that if none of us attend court will the case get dropped. would you like me to accept now. thanks
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 years ago.

No, its not that simple.


How do you know the others aren't keen?


Im happy to discuss this but please remember to CLICK on ACCEPT so that I can get credit. I will continue to help

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
because i have spoken to them both one is the girlfriend of my brother in law and the guy is a family friend. i am accepting now plz continue...thanx
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
what does 3 months custody mean? what do you think i should do, i was thinking of attending court and just sticking to the retraction statement i said i dnt feel i was assaulted and only witnessed parts of the incident as their was so much going on therefore i dont feel the information i gave on the night was an accurate account of what happened that night...i dont feel threathened by the people involved.

what was the other way you were going to suggest?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 years ago.


If you attend court and go into the witness box they will put your original statement to you hearsay and he will be convicted.


The lessons are these


1 Never call the police to a domestic squabble unless you want to end the relationship.


2 If you have done that, never make a statement. That includes not signing officer's notebooks. If the police meet with a wall of silence its game over for the Crown.


3 If you have done that, never tell them you want to withdraw. If you do so, they will use it to get a summons against you whereas if you'd kept quiet they would not have got one.


The potential solutions are these


1 Ignore the summons. Many women do so. I would not really advise it not least because they can send you to prison for three months for contempt of court. They never prosecute but you cannot ignore the risk.


2 There is a debate over whether or not attending court and refusing to go into the witness box amounts to a contempt of court. If all witnesses do that it is very effective because the prosecution cannot carry on. The trouble with it is that sometimes witnesses do break.


3 On no account give evidence though unless you want him to be convicted. Your retraction statement will be disbelieved.


Also, you do need to note this. They can make a restraining order to prevent him having contact with his wife even if he is acquitted. If this is the first incident then it probably won't happen but if she calls the police again to another domestic row, he will go on a restraining order for certain.


The days when people could call the police and then control events thereafter have gone I'm afraid.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
so could i attend court and say i do not want to give any evidence in connection to this case and stick to that no matter what they tell me, because if i dont attend i would be risking 3 months i have a 3yr old and a 1 year old and me and my husband are seperated i cant take the risk of not attending.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 years ago.

Yes, if you think you can do it.


They do make lots of threats but ultimately if you don't want to give evidence you can just refuse to do so.


Don't get involved in their domestic situations in future.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 years ago.


No problem. Good luck.