Increased public awareness about the issue of Domestic Violence has prompted changes to the way that Police handle domestic violence cases, with policing powers extended in order to tackle the problem from the frontline.
Courts are now issuing arrest warrants against Complainants of domestic violence
Several changes have been made, from powers of Police to issue “on the spot AVOs”, to the video recording of the complainants’ statements at the scene of the alleged crime. All of these measures have been implemented with the view of streamlining the process of prosecuting alleged perpetrators of domestic violence.
It appears that this is not enough. In addition to these changes it seems now that Police procedure and protocol have also dramatically changed, as they take a much harder stance in prosecuting domestic violence cases.
Courts are now often issuing arrest warrants against complainants of domestic violence, at the request of the Police, to ensure they attend court to give evidence against their alleged attacker.
In the past, when complainants of domestic violence failed to attend court, the Police would withdraw the charges, or “offer no evidence” in it’s prosecution case.
Why do Complainants so often Fail to Appear at Court?
Generally, there are various reasons for failing to attend court:
1. They have changed their mind and now do not want their partner prosecuted or jailed. Generally, this is the most common reason that alleged victims of domestic violence refuse to attend court.
2. They never wanted him/her to be charged in the first place.
3. They face pressure from their alleged attacker not to attend court.
What happens when a warrant is issued by the court?
After a warrant is issued for the arrest of the complainant, Police will usually attend the complainant’s place of residence with a view of taking them into Police custody, and refusing their release. Complainants will then be taken to court that day (if there is time) or the following morning, to face a local court Magistrate. The Magistrate will then decide if the complainant is released or whether they remain in custody (and then sent to jail). A magistrate may decide that the complainant should remain in jail to ensure that he/she attends court to give evidence against their alleged attacker.
If refused release, they will usually remain in jail until their evidence has been heard by the court.
Why the sudden change?
Failure to show up at court has always been a problem for Prosecuting authorities, but particularly in Domestic Violence cases. Much time, resources and money is spent prosecuting these cases, that which is gone to waste when a complainant fails to give evidence at a hearing for a domestic violence case. The Police have previously taken the “victim is not a criminal” approach to dealing with complainant absences at court.
It seems now the “tough love” approach has been adopted.
If you or a loved one have been charged with any criminal offence, call Sydney’s best criminal defence lawyers, LY Lawyers, on 1300 595 299.