Judge dismisses case against abuser due to witness failing to attend court
A judge has criticised police and prosecutors for failing to look after an alleged domestic violence victim after she failed to turn up to court.
District Judge Kamlesh Rana was forced to issue a witness summons after the woman failed to turn up to give evidence at Oxford Magistrates’ Court.
Judge Rana heavily criticised both police and prosecutors involved in the trial against Dean McAllister, 26, who is accused of beating the woman.
Concerns were raised by the alleged victim’s mother that there was a “lack of care” that was shown by the authorities for her daughter’s “special needs”.
The judge stated:
“I am very sad and very concerned to hear this, but I lay this situation firmly at the door of the police officer who dealt with [the complainant] when a statement was taken.”
However, prosecuted Peter Ryman claimed the witness care service and Thames Valley Police had faced many difficulties in getting the woman to attend court to give evidence and the complainant had failed to engage with authorities.
A police officer on November 4th said he would “try his best” to contact the woman. The officer claimed the woman said the court’s witness service had not contacted her.
The officer then tried to reassure the woman, who he claimed was nervous, that “special measures” would be granted to the woman which would allow her to give evidence from behind a screen.
Ryman claimed pressures on police resources had been “cut to the bone” which is what caused the miscommunication.
The judge, however, refused the CPS’s request to adjourn the trial and dropped the case against McAllister, who is currently in prison for a different offence. She summarised:
“I place this squarely at the door of either the police or the CPS in failing to take care of this witness and it’s not fair on Mr McAllister that I carry on adjourning and adjourning in the hope the witness will attend court or on the hope that someone will put in specific measures to assist her in coming to court. I’m not granting the adjournment.”