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NinjaPower

Original Poster:

2,902 posts

60 months

[news] 
Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
As the title says really, do you legally have to go to court to give evidence against someone, in for example a minor theft case, if you would rather not do so?

Soovy

32,881 posts

151 months

[news] 
Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all


They can force you yes.


Thom987

3,185 posts

46 months

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Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
You can refuse to give evidence.

Tyngwndwn

8,903 posts

61 months

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Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
I didn't see anything, wasn't me .

SteveScooby

643 posts

57 months

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Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
If you don't go please don't complain in future if the criminal justice system does not live up to your expectations.
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Jasandjules

49,163 posts

109 months

[news] 
Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
NinjaPower said:
As the title says really, do you legally have to go to court to give evidence against someone, in for example a minor theft case, if you would rather not do so?
You don't have to in the first instance but a party can make an application for an order which will then require your attendance to give evidence. It depends in part upon how important your evidence might be i.e. how much it will assist the court.

Assuming we are talking about criminal cases based upon your OP.


NinjaPower

Original Poster:

2,902 posts

60 months

[news] 
Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
Jasandjules said:
NinjaPower said:
As the title says really, do you legally have to go to court to give evidence against someone, in for example a minor theft case, if you would rather not do so?
You don't have to in the first instance but a party can make an application for an order which will then require your attendance to give evidence. It depends in part upon how important your evidence might be i.e. how much it will assist the court.

Assuming we are talking about criminal cases based upon your OP.
Yes, it's a criminal matter by the sounds of it. Crown court. I don't know too much about all this sort of thing though.

NinjaPower

Original Poster:

2,902 posts

60 months

[news] 
Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
SteveScooby said:
If you don't go please don't complain in future if the criminal justice system does not live up to your expectations.
A valid point, I agree.

Breadvan73

15,990 posts

43 months

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Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
Look on it as a civic duty. You can be compelled to give evidence by order of the court if need be.

Isaac Hunt

7,127 posts

91 months

[news] 
Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
NinjaPower said:
SteveScooby said:
If you don't go please don't complain in future if the criminal justice system does not live up to your expectations.
A valid point, I agree.
Very valid. You may also find that you turning up might just be the deciding factor in the thief pleading guilty at the 11th hour. This often happens as I discovered in two stints of Jury Service and therefore you might not have to take the stand. Very often on the defence will take it to court as witnesses don't show which weakens the case for the prosecution.

You can claim expenses for travel and loss of earnings if you need to.

tenohfive

4,389 posts

62 months

[news] 
Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
NinjaPower said:
Jasandjules said:
NinjaPower said:
As the title says really, do you legally have to go to court to give evidence against someone, in for example a minor theft case, if you would rather not do so?
You don't have to in the first instance but a party can make an application for an order which will then require your attendance to give evidence. It depends in part upon how important your evidence might be i.e. how much it will assist the court.

Assuming we are talking about criminal cases based upon your OP.
Yes, it's a criminal matter by the sounds of it. Crown court. I don't know too much about all this sort of thing though.
I was recently asked to arrest someone as they were a witness and refused to go to court. He spent the weekend in the cells so that he would be available to give evidence to the court.

Not common, but common enough that most officers will have done similar. If it's a crown court job I wouldn't take the chance if I were you.

Knock_knock

397 posts

56 months

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Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
tenohfive said:
I was recently asked to arrest someone as they were a witness and refused to go to court. He spent the weekend in the cells so that he would be available to give evidence to the court.

Not common, but common enough that most officers will have done similar. If it's a crown court job I wouldn't take the chance if I were you.
+1


Jasandjules

49,163 posts

109 months

[news] 
Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
tenohfive said:
I was recently asked to arrest someone as they were a witness and refused to go to court. He spent the weekend in the cells so that he would be available to give evidence to the court.

Not common, but common enough that most officers will have done similar. If it's a crown court job I wouldn't take the chance if I were you.
Yes, it will depend on the court and the witness, I've seen a few warrants issued... Though also quite often for the Defendant!!

OP, if it's the Crown Court, and he's a material witness I'd very much expect him to get arrested and brought to court to give evidence, Crown judges don't tend to f**k about, bearing in mind it is the more serious offences which go to the Crown.... Can I just check, who has already asked him to be a witness as that will affect whether or not a warrant would be issued or not... And I have known for a person to be arrested at work and taken to court to give evidence - that wouldn't be good!!

flat16

286 posts

114 months

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Thursday 3rd March 2011 quote quote all
It's unusual that a solicitor will demand testimony from a hostile witness as they can cause more problems than they solve. I don't know the circumstances here. If it's a black and white matter of evidence, maybe they don't mind your hostility.

I'm not going to write anything judgemental re: moral obligations to witness. Pretty much every case I've seen where a criminal's been involved has fallen apart due to witnesses not testifying. They don't need to be threatened. Our lovely media highlights the minority of cases where witnesses are threatened, therefore everyone thinks they'll be fire-bombed for testifying against the local meth drinker for shoplifting.

fergywales

1,624 posts

74 months

[news] 
Friday 4th March 2011 quote quote all
OP, why do you feel that you would rather not attend court? Are you concerned of repercussions, is it an inconvenience (however genuine) or can you just not be bothered?

If it is the former, speak to the court or the police directly, they will offer assistance, even to the point that you can give evidence away from open court.

If it is either of the latter, then the court should use their full power to compel you to attend and give evidence. Your inaction will increase the court costs for the case (which, as a criminal matter, every taxpayer is footing the bill for) and potentially leaves guilty criminals with the opportunity, using a defence barrister who will play on the issue, to escape punishment.

jazzyjeff

3,626 posts

139 months

[news] 
Friday 4th March 2011 quote quote all
Not really relevant to the question asked - but why wouldn't you want to (from a moral perspective)?

No wonder too many scrotes get away with it these days, too many people prepared to turn a blind eye because they consider it an inconvenience or 'not their business'.

This country...[sigh] frown

JJ

Jasandjules

49,163 posts

109 months

[news] 
Friday 4th March 2011 quote quote all
jazzyjeff said:
Not really relevant to the question asked - but why wouldn't you want to (from a moral perspective)?
Unfortunately, people who are self-employed may lose out financially. Bear in mind that a case may be adjourned repeatedly and so on then someone could suffer quite a bit really, and may not able to afford to do so.

Not saying that is the case for the OP, simply that it happens..

NinjaPower

Original Poster:

2,902 posts

60 months

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Friday 4th March 2011 quote quote all
I was going to write the full story summary but thought it best not as this is obviously an ongoing police matter.

The_Edge

862 posts

86 months

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Friday 4th March 2011 quote quote all
I was subpoena'd to court to appear as a witness against my current employer at the time... that was interesting!

... so yes... smile

Spitfire2

1,292 posts

66 months

[news] 
Saturday 5th March 2011 quote quote all
I was cited as a witness in a criminal case and was rather uncomfortable for the reason that I lived 100 yards from the front door of the Sherrif Court where defendants families etc tended to congregate for a fag before/after hearings.

Defendant pled guilty the day before so wasn't needed but I already had plans in place to meet a few mates outside and go to the pub for a few hours afterwards rather than walking straight from front door of the court to my own front door.

To add to other posts though - if cited as a witness, not attending isn't the best idea but if concerned, discuss with the clerk of the court perhaps?
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