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Teen assaulted by step mother and sister

(16 Posts)
Whippoorwhill Tue 19-Jul-11 16:49:31

My son's 17 year old girlfriend was pushed, slapped, punched and had her hair pulled by her drunk step mother and adult step sister. She reported it to the police who arrested and charged them. There is a witness to the initial slap from the step mother but the rest of the attack happened behind closed doors.

They are due to appear at the Magistrate's Court later this week which I believe is just for them to enter a plea.

The kid is scared stupid over it all and is terrified at the idea of having to go to Court. The Police say thst the assault is too serious for her to withdraw the charges, which to be honest I think is a good thing. It's not the first time they've been violent towards her.

Can anyone give us an idea of how it all proceeds from here? Also, does she need a solicitor?

Thanks.

Kladdkaka Tue 19-Jul-11 18:18:08

She should contact Victim Support who can support her through the whole process. Here is their website with contact details:

http://www.victimsupport.com/Help%20for%20victims

Whippoorwhill Tue 19-Jul-11 21:21:22

That's great. I'll give her the contact info. Thank you very much.

sneezecakesmum Wed 20-Jul-11 20:59:25

Excellent suggesion re Victim support.

The defendants will go to the magistrates court to enter their plea. They will have a solicitor appointed for them. It will usually be adjourned for the police to gather evidence and the court to decide how serious it is and if it needs to go to the crown court for jury trial with the girl as a witness, depending of their plea. Guilty plea - no need to give evidence, not guilty - needs to give evidence. If its simple and they plead guilty the magistrates can deal with it, but it depends on the seriousness of the assault.

Hope this poor girl is safe now. She cannot 'withdraw' charges as such as it is the police who are in effect bringing the prosecution (with CPS backing).

BCBG Wed 20-Jul-11 21:10:08

Hi, i am regularly in the magistrates courts (not as defendant!) so this might help: this will be classed as DV, so your son's girlfriend should ask to be put in touch with the local DV Witness Support Officer/DV co-ordinator as the police should have one available. She does not need a solicitor, as she is simply a witness if it goes to trial. The two women will probably enter a not guilty plea and it will go to trial in which case she will be needed to appear as a witness. If she is genuinely afraid to do so she can ask for 'special measures' i.e screens to be put in place. The witness to the initial slap is important. If that witness attends the trial then a conviction is more likely than if it is simply the girl's word against the two women. If that witness does not attend then there is a risk that the police will drop the matter to a caution for assault unless the girl is prepared to stand up in court and say what happened. The DV Witness Support Officer is important to the girl in all of this. Please, please reassure her that she is doing the right thing by supporting the prosecution, and support her as you would any other victim of DV.....

Please also get her to ask the police to ask the CPS to request bail conditions not to contact her. It should happen automatically but sadly sometimes it doesn't.

BCBG Wed 20-Jul-11 21:14:05

Incidentally, just following on from comment above, this is very unlikely to go to Crown Court unless the two women choose trial by jury, as mags powers of sentencing would be sufficient. This will be decided at the hearing at which they enter plea. If they plead not guilty the trial is likely to be held in the magistrates court, which is much less formal than Crown Court and much less intimidating for the poor girl.

sneezecakesmum Wed 20-Jul-11 22:03:41

BC My son was the victim of road rage and suffered minimal physical injury (car totalled though). His was sent to crown court even though the defendant pled guilty. There are variables such as the injuries sustained, previous assaults and possible sentencing. Its up to the magistrates to decide if it is to serious for them to deal with, so I think the seriousness of the assault is the important factor here. Agree though that magistrates would be preferable.

BCBG Wed 20-Jul-11 22:24:17

Well I am a magistrate..... I think your son's case went to Crown Court for sentencing because the magistrates would have decided that their powers of sentencing were insufficient (i.e the final sentence, taking into account sentencing in previous similar matters) might be greater than the six months per single offence that we are limited to in a magistrates court. In deciding whether or not to send it to the Crown Court for sentence we are obliged to consider aggravating factors such as use of a weapon (including a car), injuries, abuse of trust, vulnerable victim, DV with children present etc etc. In your son's case there were obviously factors present which meant the magistrates felt that a sentence longer than six months custody might be appropriate. (I would love to hear what he got, btw).....in the incident outlined above, and granted that we may not have heard all the facts, I would expect this level of assault to be dealt with in a magistrates' court.

BCBG Wed 20-Jul-11 22:29:25

Sorry sneeze by the way, I should of course have said in my original post that the seriousness of the assault IS the important factor, as you say. I was sort of assessing it in my head, but sometimes it is difficult to explain that what understandably feels horrific to a victim can be seen as more or less serious than a similar offence committed in different circumstances.

sneezecakesmum Thu 21-Jul-11 18:10:39

BC The little rat got 16 months!! Out after 9 but he will think twice about chasing someone and ramming their car 3 times. The judge said it was the worse case of road rage he had seen! It was a much better result than we could have hoped for and yea for british justice!!

BCBG Thu 21-Jul-11 19:12:21

Definitely beyond mags powers! Hope your DS has got over it....

sneezecakesmum Thu 21-Jul-11 23:03:53

Thank you..DS mostly over it now but lives on his own so gets spooked quite easily thinking this eejit is going to retaliate, but he lives in a remote cottage so I hope he is out of reach. The judge was fab! I'd love to be a magistrate but too busy with work. Did do a GCSE in law so one day I might have time <wishful thinking> ...

Kladdkaka Thu 21-Jul-11 23:28:12

Don't you get paid time off work for magistrates duties? Like jury service?

BCBG Fri 22-Jul-11 21:19:48

Kladdkaka, employers differ: some give paid time off work but sadly others require it taken as part of leave entitlement. Minimum sittings are 26 half days/13 full days a year, but in practice the average is around 35 sittings a year with more if you are on a specialist panel. Have done it for more than ten years and never regretted it, but it can be difficult to fit around work. Apply when you can, sneeze, don't forget {smile]

Whippoorwhill Tue 26-Jul-11 13:59:42

Your poor son Sneeze. sad

They both plead not guilty and everything was adjourned till the end of the year. The girl is safe and bail conditions say they are not allowed near her.

The witness is happy to go to court so that should help. She's getting in contact with the various people suggested and seems to be feeling a bit more positive about it all.

Thank you so much everyone for your help. She's such a lovely girl in spite of having such a horrible upbringing.

BCBG Tue 26-Jul-11 21:54:53

Aw, I hope it all goes well and that everyone, including her, stays strong until the trial. Best wishes.

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