Change the conviction threshold for domestic violence in magistrates court
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On the 21st January 2017 my sister was physically assaulted by her partner at the time. He subjected her to a sustained attack involving slaps to the face and head butted her resulting in a fractured nose. This was not the fist time for the abuse as the relationship on his part was very controlling and violent but this was the worst attack and the first time she was scared for her life. The police were called and he was arrested. He pleaded not guilty and dragged her through a trial. During the run up to the trial she was evicted from the house that she shared with him (owned by his parents), signed off sick from work and on anti depressants. She also had councilling and went to a support group on how to spot an abuser.
The CPS had enough evidence to charge him with assault and ABH due to injurys caused and witness statements from our parents as they heard some of the attack over the phone after she had phoned them in a panic. They also had the doctors evidence statement from the hospital due to her broken nose.
He was found NOT GUILTY at trial due to restictions on what the magistrates can use to decide a verdict which I'm on the understanding the threshold is 99% but due to some inconsistencies which naturally occur in witness statements this is nigh on impossible to secure a conviction. (2out of 3 magistrates wanted to convict but were restricted due to the ridiculous boundaries)
Also the courts didn't ask for a background summary of the relationship to establish why this attack may have occurred which I believe would have helped to get a conviction. My sisters victim impact statement also wasn't presented as evidence which would have also given the judges an insight into how her life was affected after the attack.
Another gripe of mine is that two of the defence witnesses were allowed to go for lunch with the defendant and his mother before they gave their "evidence" after the mother had been sat in the court room listening to proceedings all morning. They were told not to discuss the case but who was there to stop them? Yet my sister and my parents were all kept separated until they had each given evidence to stop them talking!! Where's the justice in that??
He said her injuries were caused by a single "clash of heads" as you can see from the attached photograph this clearly wasn't the case.
Police should be allowed to take statements about the nature of the relationship about unreported previous incidents.
This needs to change because it's an injustice to survivors of domestic abuse and doesn't encourage others to come forward and report it. Why would my sister and my family put themselves through a trial if they knew it would be so hard to get a conviction? Its a disgrace and something needs to be done about it. Change the threshold given to the magistrates and make conviction for domestic assault easier, make it easier for victims to come forward and report their abuse and stop letting abusers get away with their crimes.
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