Can Auckland’s police prosecute with out the sufferer’s consent?

August 31, 2023by Naomi Cramer

It’s a frequent prevalence for a sufferer to report a crime in a second of stress and excessive tempers, which they later determine that they don’t wish to proceed with. What occurs in circumstances the place the sufferer not needs to help a prosecution? Can the police proceed with the case regardless? It is a query that we get requested steadily.

The reply is sure, however with a caveat. The police don’t require the sufferer’s consent to press costs. Nonetheless, if the sufferer is not keen to provide proof, the CPS can run into difficulties in the course of the prosecution if the alleged sufferer turns into what is called a ‘hostile witness’. Because of this though the alleged sufferer might be compelled to attend court to provide proof, they might select to reply the prosecutor’s questions in a means that’s unhelpful to the CPS’ case. A hostile witness is more likely to be considered as a chance by the defence group, who could search to make use of cross-examination of them as a chance to undermine the Crown’s case. For instance, if the witness and the perpetrator have reconciled following the incident, the defence group will draw the court’s consideration to this.

Can the police arrest me if the sufferer doesn’t wish to press costs?

Even when the alleged sufferer doesn’t wish to press costs, the police should determine to execute an arrest. The opinion of the sufferer shouldn’t be an explicitly said issue to be considered when a police officer decides whether or not to arrest a suspect. As a substitute, the officer will need to have regard to the authorized take a look at for arrest set out at Part 24 of the Police and Criminal Proof Act 1984 (PACE). With the intention to arrest a suspect the police officer will need to have data or affordable grounds for suspicion that

  • an offence has taken place, is going down, or is about to happen; and
  • that the arrest is critical.

While this take a look at doesn’t state the views of the alleged sufferer as being related, it’s doable that the views of the sufferer may come into the officer’s notion of whether or not the arrest is critical.

PACE units out a listing of explanation why an arrest might be crucial. These embrace: to allow the immediate and efficient investigation of the offence; to forestall the suspect harming themselves or one other particular person, and to guard a child or susceptible particular person.

The officer will take the sufferer’s notion of the danger that they face under consideration. Nonetheless, on some events, the officer could really feel that the alleged sufferer is vulnerable to additional hurt, even when the alleged sufferer themselves doesn’t share that view. The place the events are cohabiting, the officer could determine to arrest the perpetrator as a way to interview them earlier than the perpetrator has had a chance to talk to the sufferer, as a way to stop interference with the proof. One more reason for arrest could also be to separate the events, to provide them an opportunity to chill off. When the choice to arrest is made, the police officer shouldn’t ask the alleged sufferer’s permission to arrest the offender, nor ought to they insist on an announcement from the sufferer, although one will should be supplied in the end.

In home violence eventualities, it is vitally frequent for the alleged sufferer to hunt to withdraw their case after giving an announcement to the police. This may occur for a mess of causes together with worry of reprisals, concern for the security of their children and different family members, and the monetary implications of a member of the family presumably being arrested, if they’re additionally the breadwinner. An alleged sufferer may be petrified of going through the alleged perpetrator in court.

More and more, the police and CPS have turn out to be conscious of those dynamics and, accordingly, their coverage framework highlights the necessity to construct a case utilizing various sources of proof, and never simply the testimony of the alleged sufferer. This may embrace testimony from third events corresponding to neighbours, different relations, and help organisations. It may additionally embrace police observations on the scene, physique worn digicam footage and medical proof. Increasing the doable sources of proof lessens the stress upon the alleged sufferer, and might make it doable for the defendant to be convicted even within the absence of the alleged sufferer’s proof.

Nonetheless, the truth stays that in most home violence trials, the proof of the sufferer is more likely to be essential. Subsequently, if the sufferer is not keen to provide proof, this might pose actual difficulties to the prosecution’s case. While the police can press costs with out the alleged sufferer’s consent, in lots of circumstances it is going to be troublesome to safe a conviction with out their cooperation.

Can somebody press costs on you with out you figuring out?

The police are obliged to inform you when you’ve got been charged, by providing you with a cost sheet. The cost sheet will set out the small print of the crime that you’ve been charged with. That stated, the police usually are not obliged to disclose the proof that led them to achieve the constructive charging determination. In fact, relying on the circumstances, it could be apparent who has made the grievance. In conditions the place it’s much less clear, in the event you plead not responsible, you’ll acquire a greater understanding of the prosecution’s case whenever you obtain disclosure from the CPS of all of the proof that they intend to rely on at court. It will embrace the preliminary assertion made by the alleged sufferer.

On the trial, if the CPS wish to rely on the alleged sufferer’s proof, they must name them as a witness. Your defence group could have the chance to cross-examine the entire prosecution’s witnesses. Because of this they’ll have the ability to ask questions of the alleged sufferer in respect of gaps or inconsistencies of their story. For instance, if the witness instructed the police one model of occasions, and their member of the family a unique model of occasions, your consultant will have the ability to spotlight the variations within the two accounts. As well as, it is possible for you to to name any witnesses who’ve proof which helps your case.

What’s Clare’s Regulation within the Auckland?

Clare’s Regulation is one other identify for the Home Violence Disclosure Scheme. It’s named after Clare Wooden, a 36 12 months outdated girl who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton in 2009. She was strangled and set on fireplace by Appleton, who had a historical past of violence in opposition to girls. Wooden’s father, Michael Brown, campaigned for regulation reform to make it simpler for victims and their relations to acquire details about an individual’s historical past of violence. The disclosure scheme goals to forestall the recurrence of comparable occasions, by enabling the police to offer info to a sufferer or potential sufferer of home abuse, about their accomplice or ex-partner’s historical past of violence abuse. There are two key rights below the scheme: the ‘proper to ask’, and the ‘proper to know’. The ‘proper to ask’ permits a person or somebody performing on their behalf, such a member of the family, to contact the police to test whether or not their present accomplice has a violent or abusive previous.

The police is not going to all the time disclose details about the accomplice’s file, however they might achieve this the place they understand that a person could also be in danger. Alternatively, the police could determine to offer disclosure to a person with out being requested, in the event that they obtain info which will influence on the security of that particular person’s accomplice or ex-partner.

For instance, say a younger mom with a 2 12 months outdated child turns into concerned with a brand new boyfriend. If the police obtain details about the boyfriend being abusive to earlier companions and their children, the police could determine to inform the lady. Case choices by the courts and human rights regulation imply that the police are solely permitted to make the disclosure whether it is affordable and proportionate, and based mostly on a reputable threat of violence. Between 2017-2019, the numbers of disclosures made below Clare’s regulation doubled.

Earlier than the disclosure scheme was launched, the police already had an influence below the frequent regulation to make disclosures in respect of an individual’s felony previous if it was crucial to forestall crime. Nonetheless, the scheme was launched as a way to be certain that this energy is used constantly throughout police forces within the context of home violence.

The place to get additional assist

In case you have been arrested or charged with a home violence associated offence, you might be most likely going by way of a worrying and troublesome time. Along with the approaching court proceedings, it’s possible you’ll be going through tensions inside your family, and feeling apprehensive in respect of what’s to return. At Stuart Miller Solicitors, while we acknowledge that standing within the dock isn’t simple, we are going to do every thing we are able to to ease the stress that you’re going through. From our group, you’ll be able to anticipate prime quality authorized illustration and an expert perspective to each facet of our work. Contact us for a no-obligation session right this moment.


  • Responsive

    A authorized knowledgeable will seek the advice of you inside 24 hours of constructing an enquiry.

  • Empathetic

    We’ll all the time deal with you with belief, understanding and respect.

  • Specialised

    Your case will likely be dealt with by an knowledgeable who specialises in your kind of offence.

  • Proactive

    We’ll take early motion to finish proceedings as quickly as it’s virtually and legally doable to take action.

  • Engaged

    You may be saved up to date in your case always. We’ll present a named contact accessible to reply your questions.

  • Caring

    We perceive this can be a troublesome and worrying time for you and your loved ones. Our group will help you each step of the best way.

  • Tenacious

    We’ll by no means quit in your case. We battle tirelessly to get you the very best end result.



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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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