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Can I make a witness statement anonymously?

(9 Posts)
dazedandconfused2016 Mon 28-Nov-16 12:40:58


I've just reported a neighbour (who I don't know) for fly tipping to the police and my local council, both of whom have my details but I told both I wanted to make the report anonymously so that the fly tipper, and neighbours, do not learn my identity.

The police have not followed it up yet but told me over the phone initially that if a case goes to court I can give evidence from behind a screen. (Though I have a distinctive regional accent that could still identify me.)

Then I spoke to the council and they said they could prosecute the case but cannot pursue a prosecution without a witness statement from me because I'm not willing to "go public". So in the absence of a witness statement the council is now talking about issuing a fine to the fly tipper.

My partner thinks I should "go public" and take the risk of being identified by the neighbour and other fly-tippers (there seems to be a number of them in my neighbourhood). He said it is unlikely my worst fears will be realised.

Obviously, I am concerned about my personal safety! I hate fly tipping and want it to stop but wonder whether it is worth paying for with harassment or violence.

I live in a rough part of London in a block of flats. The managing company of my flats does not want to spend money on CCTV cameras and I doubt they will be willing to pursue a prosecution as it only seems to care about taking our service charges and doing as little as possible in return.

Let's say I was willing to go "on the record" with the council. Would my details be read out in court - as in, the witness, Edna Bloggs, of 100 Bloggs Avenue, said she saw the fly-tip at 3pm on the 17th November...." etc.?

I've complained to the council about the problem on previous occasions and have been let me down over action it said it would take.

Should I "go public" and take the risk? Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

JaniceBattersby Mon 28-Nov-16 14:10:28

Yes, your details would be available to the court if you were to give evidence for the prosecution, and the chances of you being able to give evidence from behind a screen in a case like this are minimal.

The only reason most criminal cases succeed is because people willing to give evidence in court. If your neighbour tried to persuade you not to give evidence or threatened you in any way then you report them to the police and court action will be taken against them.

I see people giving evidence against gang members, against murderers, child abusers etc every day. I've only seen a couple cases where violence has actually been used against witnesses, and they have been in incredibly serious, drugs gang-related cases.

If you don't want to give a statement then don't, but it's unlikely a conviction will be secured and this person will continue to flout the law.

Losingtheplod Mon 28-Nov-16 14:15:00

The defense would get the witness statement, which would have your name and occupation on the front. They would not get your address or any other details about you, unless they were included in the body of the statement, which they shouldn't be.

dazedandconfused2016 Mon 28-Nov-16 14:21:16

Thanks for this info JaniceBattersby, it's very helpful.

I've just this minute been told by the council that this neighbour is not committing a crime anyway. She was dumping old household goods because there was no room in the communal bin store so she was forced to leave them outside. I had thought this was fly tipping but it seems I'm wrong.

Thanks for your reply - it is very useful to know that information for future reference.

dazedandconfused2016 Mon 28-Nov-16 17:43:27

Thanks Losingtheplod - we must have cross-posted. That is also helpful to know.

Thisjustinno Mon 28-Nov-16 17:52:40

No you can't not be named in Court or in the media (if it was considered media worthy!) unless specific criteria was met - victim of sexual assault for example.

I've been involved in a case where my witness testimony would have been helpful but the Police were unable to offer anonymity so I won't speak in Court.

notarehearsal Tue 29-Nov-16 08:00:48

It's quite different but I was recently the main and only witness in a serious case in crown court against drug dealers. My name was known but my occupation and address were not. I was also behind a screen though one of the defendants had met me once before and would have known who I was. It was fairly obvious who I was but I would not have gone to court had my address been made common knowledge.

Collaborate Tue 29-Nov-16 14:18:02

Everyone has the right to know who is accusing them of a crime. Justice cannot be served without that.

Imagine for a moment that someone accused you of an awful crime, but the police said they didn't want to tell you who it was. Would you think it fair?

JaniceBattersby Tue 29-Nov-16 17:01:23

Absolutely Collaborate. Can you imagine how many malicious reports there would be if the witnesses to crimes had anonymity? Any old person could say they'd seen you doing anything and you'd have no way of challenging their motives or of their whereabouts when the crime was actually committed.

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