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Defending ‘Victimless Prosecutions’

defending victimless prosecutionsNot long ago, it was generally accepted that if there were no witnesses prepared to attend for a trial, that a defendant would inevitably be acquitted if the case against them even went that far.

These days, the Crown Prosecution Service will often run a case without a willing witness and will base their case upon circumstantial evidence.

The reasons for this change of approach to victimless prosecutions would seem to be twofold. Firstly, the CPS has often been criticised for being weak in pursuing allegations of domestic violence.

Secondly, the police are now routinely equipped with body worn cameras. In many cases, the Police will arrive at the scene and immediately start recording accounts given by witnesses. This may be without the witness having a clue that they are being recorded.

In some cases, the case against a defendant will centre not on what a witness will say in court but on a collection of evidence such as the 999 call recording, the witness’s account to the police on a body worn camera and other evidence such as injuries, or photographs showing a disturbance in a property.

Our Client’s Case

Recently, Nottingham based criminal defence solicitor Jim Buckley  defended a young man who was said to have been involved in a domestic quarrel with his partner whilst on a holiday in Mansfield.

defending victimless prosecutions
Nottingham criminal lawyer Jim Buckley

The prosecution chose to proceed with the case even though our client’s partner refused to make a statement and therefore refused to attend at the trial.

Jim successfully defended the case.  Initial arguments that the evidence brought by the CPS was inadmissible under the hearsay rules and that if the evidence were allowed to be given in court it would be so unfair as to prevent the defendant from having a fair trial failed.  Some of the legal considerations to be applied can be found here.

Happily, the defendant gave a good and convincing account of his behaviour, denying the allegation, and he was found not guilty by the District Judge.

This case shows the way that the police and CPS will approach a prosecution is flexible and can change even when the law remains exactly as it was due to other pressures and approaches.

Clients will often say ‘but where is the evidence’ and such comment may be particularly apt in ‘victimless prosecutions’.  There will be evidence however or the case would not be in court.  As a result it is vital to take legal advice at the outset of the case and to make sure that your lawyers are aware of the latest approaches taken by the prosecution and are able to counter them.

Instruct an expert in defending victimless prosecutions

Seeking legal advice at the earliest opportunity will allow us to provide advice to you about the law and the evidence in either a police investigation or a prosecution.

If you are arrested or know that the police wish to speak to you about any criminal allegation make sure you insist on your right to free and independent legal advice.  We will be present in your interview to advise through the investigation stage.

The advantages of such early advice legal advice can be found here.


If you have already been interviewed or face court proceedings we can still make a real difference to the outcome of your case.

Legal aid may well be available to fund your defence at court.


We have offices across the East Midlands and will happily travel across the country to provide representation for all types of offences.

Vhs Fletchers criminal solicitors east midlands
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Alternatively you can use the contact form below.


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