CPS North East: Domestic Abuse Prosecutions, December 2022
Below are some examples of successful domestic abuse prosecutions by CPS North East in December.
The defendant and victim had been in an on/off relationship for three years. The defendant was outside of the victim’s home late in the evening. The victim approached and told the defendant that she wanted to get her property back from the defendant’s address. The defendant was verbally abusive to the victim and walked off, before returning and punching the victim to the face and forehead six times causing pain, a cut between the eyebrows, bruised left eye and a nosebleed. The defendant claimed self-defence and that the victim had caused the injuries herself. The victim did not attend for the trial, but the matter proceeded as evidence-led based on CCTV. The defendant was successfully convicted, and the matter listed for sentence on a future date.
The defendant attended the home of his former partner, he then poured petrol over her front door and into her letterbox. The defendant then set fire to her bin. The victim was seven months pregnant with the defendant’s child and she was unsupportive of the prosecution. The case proceeded as evidence-led prosecution, with evidence from a neighbour who witnessed the offence and a police video recording of the initial account of the victim. The defendant pleaded not guilty but changed his plea to guilty several months prior to the trial. He was sentenced to 25 months’ imprisonment.
The defendant was convicted of stalking his ex-partner, criminal damage to her home CCTV system and intimidating her during the period leading to his trial. The defendant was abusive to the victim during their three-year relationship. When the relationship ended, the defendant stalked the victim by attending, numerous times, at her home address and the gym she used. He emailed her in excess of 60 times over several days and left abusive voicemails. Following a successful prosecution, the Judge sentenced the defendant to 24 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for twelve months, £774 total costs and granted a two-year restraining order prohibiting any contact with the victim, referring to the victim on any social media platform and entering the street where she lives.
The defendant was charged with engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship over a three year period. The defendant pleaded not guilty and the case was listed for trial. On the day of trial, the defendant entered a guilty plea to the offence, accepting that the control and coercive behaviour included restricting the movements of his victim, and having her welfare benefits paid into his account. He also accepted he caused the victim to fear violence on at least two occasions and that he threw a sand block at her causing a lasting injury to her left arm. The defendant was sentenced to 27 months’ imprisonment and a restraining order was imposed for an indefinite period to protect the victim from further harm.
The defendant was subject to a non-molestation order made under section 42(2) of the Family Law Act 1996 by Middlesbrough Family Court. The defendant was charged with multiple offences of breaching the non-molestation order. He appeared at Teesside Crown Court where all offences were linked, to be dealt with as one case to prevent the victim and witnesses having to give evidence at multiple trials. At a subsequent hearing the defendant entered guilty pleas to all eight offences of breach of non-molestation order. By his guilty pleas he accepted he had contacted the victim without reasonable excuse on more than one occasion including by sending her unwanted messages. He accepted he attended the victim’s home address and caused her harassment by shouting and knocking at the door. The defendant was sentenced to a total of 15 months’ imprisonment and a restraining order was imposed for an indefinite period to protect the victim from further harm.
The defendant attended the victims home demanding money. The victim fled from her home whilst calling 999, but the defendant caught up to her in the street. The defendant grabbed hold of the victim and threw her around before taking her money and house keys. After reporting the incident to the police, the defendant threatened to burn down the victim’s mother’s home. The victim was reluctant to support the prosecution following the threats. However, with support from the Witness Care Unit and special measures she was prepared to attend trial. The defendant pleaded guilty on the day of trial to robbery and threats to cause criminal damage. The defendant was imprisoned for 27 months for robbery and five months consecutively for the threat, totalling 32 months’ imprisonment. A 5-year restraining order was also imposed.
Victim attended trial with intermediary. On the trial day the defence produced a hand-written letter, which the defendant claimed to be from the victim and had been posted through the defendant’s letter box. The letter suggested the victim had been pressured into making false accusations against the defendant by family and friends and she wanted to retract. The letter was dated September 2022.The prosecutor took the letter but before showing the same to the victim asked her to write out certain words within the letter – complex words of some length to check spelling and hand-writing style. Spellings were different, as was the hand-writing style. The letter was shown to the victim, and she denied writing or sending it and confirmed the writing was not her own. The defence cross-examined on the letter and suggested the victim was not in need of an intermediary and she was not portraying the reality of herself to the court. The Judge found the victim’s evidence was truthful and the defendant had provided detail in evidence which he never provided in interview. The Judge considered the defendant’s evidence had been fabricated. The defendant as convicted and sentenced to a twelve month Community Order and ordered to pay compensation of £200.
Victim was not supportive and did not provide an in initial statement of complaint. The victim did however provide an account on BWV, and this was subject to an application to admit the same as res gestae. The Judge granted the application and following consideration of the same during the trial, convicted the defendant of common assault by beating. The defendant was ined £250 and made to pay costs of £400.
The victim was unsupportive but their case reviewed and charged to proceed by way of an evidence-led prosecution. The police body-worn-footage was admitted by way of res gestae. The Court stated they were satisfied the victim on the BWV was emotionally overpowered and the possibility of concoction disregarded. The defendant was convicted after trial of common assault by beating and sentenced as follows - 10 RAR days and building better relationships programme, an 18-month community order, fined £600, costs of £620 and a victim surcharge of £155.