Domestic Violence Trial in Mansfield
Domestic violence cases are frequently before the court for trial. Domestic violence is defined as 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:
In many cases a client may have unrealistic expectations as to whether a witness, who he or she might still be in a relationship with, will attend court to give evidence against them.
Witnesses will often respond to a Crown request for their attendance, and of course ultimately the prosecution can ask that the witness be forced to attend. Over the years the prosecution have resorted to the latter course of action more and more frequently, particularly in Crown Court cases. In some cases the evidence may permit the prosecution to proceed without the complainant.
If a client is sentenced for such an allegation, the court will take into account the seriousness of the assault, the stage at which admissions (if any are made), the wishes of the complainant (although these are not decisive) and the client’s attitude to the offence.
Particular sentencing considerations are set out here.
As a result, if a client is to embark upon a trial it is very important to them that they win. In a recent case dealt with by Mansfield Solicitor Tim Haines his client faced an allegation of assault. During an argument with his partner in the home it was said that he had pushed and shoved his partner, and taken hold of her. The allegation was aggravated by the fact that his young child was said to have been present.
Tim’s client had always maintained that the incident had not happened and it had been fabricated by the complainant to support orders being sought in the family court. The challenging of evidence in those terms may often be difficult, but in this case our client was helped by the fact that he was of previous good character.
This was important as it would be potential evidence that Tim’s client was less likely to have committed the offence and more likely to be telling the truth about what happened. Rather than simply rely on this Tim chose to call two character witnesses to give evidence to the court about his client’s character, usual demeanour and in particular how he conducted himself in his relationship.
The District Judge found this a difficult case as both the alleged victim and Tim’s client were credible witnesses. Applying the burden and standard of proof, and putting weight on our client’s good character, the Judge could not be sure that he had committed the offence and the client was found not guilty.
Tactical considerations that can only come from an experienced trial advocate such as Tim can often be key when deciding how to present a case before the courts. This is true whether the case is a trial or a sentencing hearing. You can be sure that Tim will be alive to all of the possible outcomes of the various strategies that can be adopted and give you the best advice in your particular case, as he did in this one.