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Court Summons - Can they make me?

(18 Posts)
BananasAndClottedCream Wed 18-Sep-13 13:07:57

I am going to be summoned to court as a witness. I've been advised that as long as I turn up I can refuse to give evidence, is this correct? I just want to make sure before I get myself into trouble!
It shouldn't be a shock to anyone as I retracted my statement and said that I would refuse if summoned, the officer who I spoke to was surprised that they are summoning me.


MoominsYonisAreScary Wed 18-Sep-13 13:11:44

I had a summons once and rang them up to tell them i was still refusing to go, nothing came of it but i guess it depends what the case is. I was the victim.

MrsJamesMartin Wed 18-Sep-13 13:12:21

You could be charged with perverting the course of justice if you fail to turn up or turn up and refuse to give evidence.

Cases go to court based on evidence ,doesnt really matter whether youve retracted or not you are still a witness.

MoominsYonisAreScary Wed 18-Sep-13 13:12:59

Although i know nothing about the law so hopefully someone will be able to advise you who does grin

BananasAndClottedCream Wed 18-Sep-13 13:27:45

This is what I'm worried about. I know I have to attend court and can live with that, I just don't want to give evidence. A police officer has said that I just need to speak to the prosecution when I go to make them aware. We aren't talking hardened criminals here, more like plain stupidity!

Collaborate Wed 18-Sep-13 13:40:52

You can tell them that you are reluctant to give evidence, but if you fail to answer questions put to you, or take the stand, you may be held in contempt of court.

BananasAndClottedCream Wed 18-Sep-13 14:18:25

So as long as I don't go into the court room then I don't have to answer. It's if I go in and then don't answer the questions I get into trouble?

Collaborate Wed 18-Sep-13 16:38:39

If you don't go in to the court room you're effectively ignoring your summons. The court can issue a warrant for your arrest.

VanitasVanitatum Wed 18-Sep-13 16:41:49

Basically you should go. You can tell the judge whatever you want to say when you're up there. Don't get yourself into trouble with the court.

bangersmashandbeans Wed 18-Sep-13 16:43:25

What collaborate said

BananasAndClottedCream Thu 19-Sep-13 07:09:05

Thank you for the advice, looks like I best iron something smart and sort out the childcare as I have no intention in getting a criminal recorded all of my own!

StupidMistakes Thu 19-Sep-13 07:21:48

I would say speak to the police about help with childcare costs of your having to pay a baby sitter as I think if your a witness they can help with things like that

Collaborate Thu 19-Sep-13 09:45:29

In civil proceedings and I think criminal too (what court is it OP?) you're entitled to conduct money. This is meant to represent your reasonable costs of coming to court. Contact those who have summoned you and set out your child care cost and travel cost.

OhDearNigel Fri 20-Sep-13 00:01:04

If it's a crown court case the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest to bring you before the court. You will stay in the holding cells until you give evidence.

If it's magistrates its a bit more grey. The magistrates in our area never issue bench warrants for witnesses but this may be different in your area.

It is not worth taking the risk, especially if you have bern summoned to crown court. I am a witness care officer in a south eastern police force and i always tell my unwilling witnesses that refusing to engage is not going to make the court go away.

What are the reasons for not wanting to go ? You may be able to get special measures to make attending easier (videolink or screens)

OhDearNigel Fri 20-Sep-13 00:03:13

And in relation to refusing to answer questions - our crown court resident judge was very hardline and has had people charged with pervert for refusing to answer questions. Magistrates, again, reluctant to use their powers

OhDearNigel Fri 20-Sep-13 00:06:03

Op if you pm me where you are i can put you in touch with the witness care unit looking after your case. They can arrange travel warrants or tickets, assist with arranging childcare etc.

And yes, a summons must be served with sufficient "conduct money" for it to be legally enforceable. We serve enough for return bus travel from the witness's address to the court

OhDearNigel Fri 20-Sep-13 00:07:26

Bananas, being arrested to satisfy a summons would not give you a criminal record - it's not a conviction

cumfy Sat 21-Sep-13 00:34:10

Is someone threatening you ?

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