Domestic Violence Allegations Disputed
The current Government definition of domestic violence is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
Domestic violence allegations are understandably taken very seriously by the courts. Particular sentencing considerations are set out here.
David Gittins recently represented a client before Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court charged with an assault on his partner. The allegations, if true, were of a serious nature. David’s client was said to have head butted the complainant and then strangled her so that she nearly passed out on the bed. His partner had reported the matter almost immediately to a friend who visited the property and saw her in a distressed state.
David’s instructions, however, set out a different factual basis to the incident. He maintained that an argument had led to his partner hitting him leading to injury, and he had had to take steps to restrain her leading to a clash of heads.
At trial, David had to undertake careful cross-examination of a visibly distressed witness. His client then had the opportunity of giving his account to the Magistrates. Both accounts had elements in common, but as the client’s account was consistent, plausible and backed up by medical evidence from the hospital detailing his injuries the Magistrates found him not guilty after trial.
The client had successfully applied for legal aid to ensure that his representation was free of charge to him.