Judge orders not guilty verdicts for ABH case in which the complainant hadn’t provided a statement
Our client was charged with two offences of causing actual bodily harm in a domestic context. The complainant did not provide a statement to the police and the case primarily relied upon an initial account captured from her on police body worn cameras.
The Prosecution sought to adduce the footage from the body worn cameras as hearsay evidence, specifically ‘res gestae’. Res gestae is a statement ‘made by a person so emotionally overpowered by an event that the possibility of concoction or distortion can be disregarded’. Such statements are now far more commonplace due to the use of police body worn cameras. The allegations in this case were recorded around 45 minutes after the alleged incident, and the Judge ruled that having viewed the footage and considered the demeanour of the complainant it did amount to res gestae.
However, the Judge excluded the evidence on the basis that admitting it would have had such an adverse effect on the fairness of the proceedings. The Judge referenced the fact that a defendant should be able to challenge the person making the allegation against them in court before a jury, and that it should therefore only be in rare cases where this is departed from and where there is compelling reason to do so.
Once this evidence had been excluded there was no basis to proceed with the case and the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence. The Judge ordered that not guilty verdicts were to be recorded.