Posted in False Accusations, Police

Wasting Police Time

The offence of wasting police time (section 5(2) of the Criminal Law Act 1967) is committed when a person:

Causes wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making to any person, a false report orally or in writing tending to:

  • show that an offence has been committed;
  • give rise to apprehension for the safety of any persons or property; or
  • show that he has information material to any police inquiry.

Wasting police time is a summary only offence and proceedings may only be instituted by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as set out in section 5(3) of the Criminal Law Act 1967. Proceedings must be started within the six month summary time limit, from the date on which the complaint was made, not from when the falsity of the allegation was suspected or detected. It is important when considering charges of wasting police time in such cases, that prosecutors pay due attention to the date of the commission of the offence, and whether other options such as an out of court disposal are appropriate after taking the full facts into consideration. Continue reading “Wasting Police Time”

Posted in False Accusations, Police

Cases Where it is Suggested the Complaint is False

A person who deliberately makes a false allegation of a crime in the knowledge that there is a risk that the police will conduct an investigation would have committed one of the relevant offences and is liable to be prosecuted subject to public interest considerations.

The first question will be whether the suspect has in fact made a clear and unambiguous complaint of a crime against an identifiable individual in the first place. This may not be the case in the following situations:

  • Where he / she merely expressed a concern or feeling that they might have been the victim of a crime which was then perhaps treated as a complaint by others. This may be the case where the suspect cannot remember all the details, perhaps as a result of taking alcohol or drugs. In such a case this would merely be a truthful reflection of the suspect’s state of mind rather than a positive complaint of a crime.
  • Where he / she did not truly understand the nature of the allegation which was reported. This may be the case, for example, where the suspect said that they had not consented but did not actually understand what the word “consent” meant. There should be particular focus on this issue where the suspect is young or has mental health or learning issues.
  • Where a third party made the allegation and the suspect was not completely supportive of it perhaps because they were coerced into supporting it.

The second question will be whether there is sufficient evidence to prove that allegation was in fact false. If the evidence is such that the original allegation might reasonably be true then there is not a realistic prospect of conviction and no charge should be brought. The mere fact that the original allegation did not meet the evidential stage of the full Code test does not mean that the prosecution can prove that it was false. That involves an entirely different question. Likewise, where a complainant withdraws their support for a prosecution but nevertheless maintains their allegation is true, this is unlikely in itself to be sufficient to found a case for one of the relevant offences.

Most cases of rape and / or domestic abuse will involve one person’s word against another. Prosecutors should work proactively with the police to make sure any other evidence which may be relevant to the issue has been obtained. Such evidence will include CCTV footage, telephone traffic, text message or other electronic message exchange, cell site evidence, evidence from other witnesses, medical and scientific evidence, 999 calls, employment records and available risk assessments.

It is important that such evidence is scrutinised with care to see whether it really does support the falsity of the allegation made and, if so, to what extent or whether it tends to support its truth. When applying such scrutiny the quality and true value of the evidence must be assessed in the light of what sought to be proved by it. The evidence may, for example, more readily and clearly prove falsity where it is incontrovertible evidence [such as clear CCTV footage] which shows that the parties were not even together at the time the allegation is said to have occurred. It may less readily and clearly do so, for example, in situations where it is necessary to show the suspect consented to a sexual act in order to prove falsity. Care must be taken to apply the appropriate weight to such evidence.

Inconsistencies in the various accounts provided by the suspect whether given in statements / ABE interviews or informally [i.e. during risk assessments or medical examinations] can be considered. It is important, however, to bear in mind that it is common for true victims of sexual and domestic abuse to give inconsistent accounts due to the trauma of the attack or for other reasons. The extent and circumstances of any inconsistencies must be carefully scrutinised. Positive contradiction of the suspect’s allegation is of much more value than inconsistencies.

It will also be necessary to take into account any reaction of the suspect when contradictory evidence is put to them in interview. However, an admission may not necessarily be sufficient to prove falsity and will never, on its own, suffice. There may be many understandable reasons why a true victim may distance themselves from an allegation they once made [see section on retractions below]. Continue reading “Cases Where it is Suggested the Complaint is False”

Posted in Drug Abuse, False Accusations, Police

Date Rape & Drink Spiking Accusations

The first thing to remember if you are accused of drink spiking or date raping after attending a holiday party is that you are to be seen as innocent until proven guilty. This presumption of innocence means that the prosecution needs to prove that you are guilty, not that you need to prove you are not. Additionally, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. With these stipulations in mind, you should team up with a sex crimes defense lawyer to start talking about how to defend yourself since a conviction for date rape, or attempted date rape through drink spiking, could be considered a felony offense in many cases.

Three main components of your case to consider in your defense are:

  1. Identity: As previously mentioned, a holiday party is sure to be packed with strangers, friends, and acquaintances. If a person does consume a drink that has been spiked with a narcotic, every single person in the establishment is essentially a suspect, from the best friend who was supposed to watch the drink to the bartender that made it. Challenging the prosecution to come up with conclusive evidence that you are the one who committed the crime can often dismantle their arguments upfront.
  2. Intent: If there is solid evidence to suggest that you had spiked a beverage with a drug, you still have not attempted to commit date rape. A person’s intent behind their criminal actions can hold major sway over subsequent charges and trials. Many people intentionally spike their own drinks with drugs to “enhance” the party. Was there any actual malicious intent behind your actions? If not, the charges should be reduced or dropped.
  3. Harm: In many date rape cases, the accusations do not actually fit the reality of the situation, as date rape does not exist but the charges are placed as if it had. Regardless of your intent to drink spike someone else, you should never be charged for anything beyond what happened. If there was no lasting harm, there should be no excessive consequence.

Continue reading “Date Rape & Drink Spiking Accusations”

Posted in False Accusations, Police

Alleged spiked drink cases in inner city London

Reports in the UK mainstream media have made “drink spiking” a hot topic of discussion among the general public, particularly among younger people who enjoy Britain’s pub and club culture.,,, Media coverage has generated widespread concern that “drink spiking”, more accurately defined as “the unsolicited addition of a drug to a drink consumed in a social setting” is relatively common.

Drink spiking has been associated with “date rape” or drug facilitated sexual assault (DFSA).,, Alleged cases of DFSA are not uncommon in the UK; the Forensic Science Service analyses over 500 samples annually from alleged cases presenting to police forces in the southern half of England and Wales, an area potentially covering half of the total UK population. Numerous medical case reports and media articles have associated sedative drugs including flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), ketamine and γ‐hydroxybutyrate (GHB) with DFSA.,,, Studies in the UK, USA and Australia examining the incidence and character of drugs involved in alleged cases of DFSA have found alcohol to be the most common substance associated with DFSA, while sedative drugs are detected in <5% of cases.,,,, Continue reading “Alleged spiked drink cases in inner city London”