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reluctant witness

(14 Posts)
gingerrapunzel Mon 15-Aug-11 22:22:39

I have received a witness summons to testify in a trial against my ex partner in relation to his thereats to kill/hurt me.

I have had no contact with him since the incident and stopped contact with son.

I cannot face the trial. Its making me sick with worry and damaging my emotional health.

I have discussed this with my counseller and concluded that no advantages to taking this to trial for me or kids.

My gp signed me off sick with stress but i am still to attend court per cps.

How can i get out of this legally without getting into trouble??? any advice please.

Shinyshoes1 Mon 15-Aug-11 22:31:06

Unfortunately a judge may subpeona you to go.

gingerrapunzel Mon 15-Aug-11 22:39:23

what even if i am unfit to attend? what would they be sympathetci to for me not to have to go through this,,,??

michglas Mon 15-Aug-11 22:41:49

Your ex is counting on you not attending, he probably knows you will weaken so show him he's wrong. Show him that you are no longer scared, take a good friend with you and go and face that bastard in court.

Humpletumple Mon 15-Aug-11 22:44:27

The state requires that justice is done. Serious complaints have been made against this man. He has the right to a fair trial. To have those claims tested in court and be found guilty or not by his peers. If you don't give evidence you effectively deny him the right to a fair trial. There may not be an advantage to you and your kids but that isn't in any case the purpose of the trial. The purpose is to find this man innocent or guilty and yes you can be compelled to attend so you'd be best served focusing your attention on how you can get throught it. Have you contacted Womens Aid - they are experience in supporting women in this scenario.

gingerrapunzel Mon 15-Aug-11 22:53:48

Thanks for the replies.
I do appreciate the purpose of the criminal justice system and i did intend to go to trial. I dont really care about my ex and the outcome for him. what I care about is looking after the kids and me.
I am spekaing to a womens aid suport group.
I have coe to the conclusion with family therapist, womens aid and gp taht it is not best for me to go to trial in short or long term.
Now just seeking advice on how i can make this clear or whta documentary evidence do i need etc?
If i dont show uo, will i get a conviction?

Humpletumple Mon 15-Aug-11 22:58:38

If the CPS want to pursue the case and you not giving evidence will cause the case to collapse then yes you could be in a very serious situation if you try to avoid giving evidence.

could the witnesss service help?

gingerrapunzel Mon 15-Aug-11 23:18:55

No, they cannot help.

They have messed it up already.Case already postponed once because of this.

I am looking for any examples of people who have been relieved from testifying in simialr dv situations...

Sorry, I appreciate your helo hT but witness care wont be there in 20 years timw ehen still dealing with father of the kids,,,

Humpletumple Mon 15-Aug-11 23:22:06

Right so get him convicted, get further legal action against him, move away and change your name. Do you really think he will leave you alone if you don't go to court?

I think you need to talk to the CPS - have you broached this with them?

EldritchCleavage Tue 16-Aug-11 17:10:14

If you don't obey the witness summons you could be arrested and taken to court. If you refuse to speak when in the witness box you could be found in contempt of court. That could mean serious consequenecs for you. Please think carefully about this and get advice. There are things that can be done if you ask, eg giving evidence from behind a screen. Please don't bury your head in the samd and hope you'll get away with not going, whatever your therapist thinks. You will have to be proactive and get in touch with the court.

The Magistrates Courts Act 1980 s. 97 says:
(3)On the failure of any person to attend before a magistrates’ court in answer to a summons under this section, if—(a)the court is satisfied by evidence on oath that he is likely to be able to give material evidence or produce any document or thing likely to be material evidence in the proceedings; and(b)it is proved on oath, or in such other manner as may be prescribed, that he has been duly served with the summons, and that a reasonable sum has been paid or tendered to him for costs and expenses; and(c)it appears to the court that there is no just excuse for the failure,the court may issue a warrant to arrest him and bring him before the court at a time and place specified in the warrant.(4)If any person attending or brought before a magistrates’ court refuses without just excuse to be sworn or give evidence, or to produce any document or thing, the court may commit him to custody until the expiration of such period not exceeding [F367one month] as may be specified in the warrant or until he sooner gives evidence or produces the document or thing [F368or impose on him a fine not exceeding [F369£2,500] or both].

gingerrapunzel Tue 16-Aug-11 20:31:50

it says in the act "if there is no just excuse for the failure"

shouldnt this include illness - physical or mental??

EldritchCleavage Tue 16-Aug-11 22:22:58

It probably does, but it is not up to you unilaterally to decide the exception applies. You have to present your reasons to the court (which would have to include a medical certificate from your therapist) and ask it to release you. There is always the prospect that the court will not agree your condition is bad enough to excuse you from giving evidence.

Gonzo33 Wed 17-Aug-11 14:02:24

gingerrapunzel my exh was like yours - he made threats to kill me, my family, our ds. He physically hurt me, and mentally tortured me for ten years. I had counselling for a very long time because of his behaviour. I was constantly looking out for him and his vehicle(s). I made numerous complaints to the Police, but when it came to it I didn't have the courage to press charges because he had crushed me. Now I am stronger, had the chance to re-marry and move on with my life. It took meeting my husband and moving abroad to realise that I should have pressed charges. It would have stopped a lot sooner then and we could have got on with our life so much quicker, thus stopping the immensely stressful and unhappy ten years that we had.

I know it is not easy, believe me I have lived in your shoes so I know, but for your own sanity and the wellbeing or your child(ren) please do this, even if it means hiding behind a screen or via satellite link (or whatever they use). If he is found guilty I expect they will put some form of anti-molestation/restraining order can't think of the blasted word on him preventing him from coming within x of you.

Whatever you do, good luck xx

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 17-Aug-11 14:10:46

Ask about special measures, there are certain things that can possibly make the whole experience an easier one for you, such as not having to face your ex in court, giving evidence from another room etc if you meet certain criteria. Ask about it.

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