Arrested / Charged
The advice below has been used with kind permission from accused.me.uk.
So you’ve been arrested? Or perhaps you’ve been interviewed under caution?
You may well have had your DNA taken, been fingerprinted, and will quite possibly now be subject to bail conditions. This is for many people a new, degrading and foreign experience.
You will be ‘under arrest’ for an uncertain period of time, before you return to answer police bail. This date that may be set at the time of the arrest. It is common for investigations into rape and sexual assault to take a long time before a decision is made about charging, especially if the allegations are historical, and there is no DNA evidence. In these circumstances, it is likely that you will be rebailed on several occasions before the investigation concludes. That could be many months, perhaps over a year from now.
There are several outcomes at that time. First, if you are lucky, the police will consider that the allegation is of insufficient weight to warrant a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Your case will be NFA’d – marked for no further action. Alternatively, you will be informed that the evidence they have found against you has been passed to the CPS for consideration as to whether the police should charge you. This decision will cause more delay and uncertainty. After some more time, the CPS will recommend whether the police should charge you. If you are charged, you will receive a date for your trial, and your defence team kicks in.
If you are subject to bail conditions, then be careful not to do anything that could be construed as a breach. If you are told not to go to the street where your complainant lives, then do not go anywhere close. If you do, and the police are being obtuse, you could suddenly find that you are placed on remand.
Contacting the complainant
Even if you share children in common, or you have other pressing business with them, then you should find another way to contact the complainant. Contact them via a friend. If you can afford it, use your solicitor. If you don’t, you could find yourself facing an allegation of perverting the course of justice if anything you say is misconstrued as an attempt to persuade them to retract their allegation. Unless you record every interaction with them, this could be a difficult thing to disprove. They’ve already alleged that you raped or sexually assaulted them. It is not too difficult to wonder that they might say you said other things that you didn’t.
Contacting people connected to the complainant
It is quite possible that the police will be interviewing the complainant’s friends and potential witnesses. They may have heard them making their allegation about you. Even if you do not know who these people are, you should assume that anyone connected with the complainant could be a potential witness for the police. Merely attempting to contact these people could be taken as an attempt to interfere with the police investigation. This could be considered an attempt to pervert the course of justice, and put you at risk of re-arrest. It will not look good if your case comes to trial.