VIC Police - Retracting Domestic Violence Statement?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now

Swizzle1984

Member
23 May 2018
3
0
1
Hi,

3 years ago, my marriage was very strained & after a number of days of feeling hopeless about the future of it & very distressed, I went to my gp to ask about support, expecting a referral for counselling or something similar. I was advised by the doctor to go to the police & make a statement so that if things got worse & I needed to rely on the history of what happened & how, I could.

I was advised that I could simply make a statement but that it wouldn't be acted on without my consent.

I went to the local police who asked me to make a statement in preference to just answering my enquiry about what happens & how it works. The officer who I spoke to has a child at the same school, so told me it would be a conflict of interest, so requested I talk to another officer. I was questioned for a very long time & repeatedly asked the same questions in different ways or was asked leading questions & then she put a typed statement in front of me with my name on it & told me that I had to sign it.

I questioned some of the things in the statement & advised the officer that I didn't agree with some of the wording or that I didn't use those words to which I was told - this is the wording that they have to use legally in a statement & I can't change it. I signed because they told me I had to. Before signing, I asked if they were going to do anything with it because I was only making it on the advice of my doctor that I might need it down the track & that my husband definitely wouldn't be arrested or charged. I was told they would talk to him but that he definitely wouldn't be arrested especially if he was cooperative.

I was then told not to return to my home until they called me & that I wasn't to speak to my husband if he contacted me. I was upset but felt reassured that they wouldn't do anything except talk to him.

I went to a friend's house with my son & the next thing I heard (the following day) was that they sent two police to my home & arrested my husband for family violence & assault (He smashed a coffee cup several years earlier & they'd gone through every disagreement we'd had in our entire relationship) & he was charged. They issued an interim IVO & it went to court soon after.

I asked to speak in court but was told I wasn't allowed because it was recorded as Victoria Police vs my husband. I managed to get the IVO dropped & instead they agreed to an undertaking for 1 yr. If no further issues, everything would revert to pre-statement as if nothing had happened. The year passed & months later out of the blue, the arresting officer charged my husband for a criminal assault (the coffee cup 8 yrs prior) & we went to court with statements supporting his changed behaviour, etc., including statements from people who could vouch for the sustained improvement. The charges were dropped.

My husband is very unsettled even just seeing the officer whose name was on the arrest warrant despite him telling me he couldn't take my statement due to conflict of interest. Although there is no record due to charges being dropped, obviously he still has an internal record on the Victoria Police database. Is there any way to get this changed?

My husband also feels we should be able to do something about the fact that they didn't act as they told me they would & arrested him even though he didn't hesitate to cooperate.

Sorry for the long post but you need a but of the history to answer accurately.

Thanks in advance.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
27 May 2014
7,326
1,001
2,894
told me that I had to sign it

Lesson learnt. You are never forced to sign anything ever. Police officer saying this should be slapped on wrist for this behaviour.

My husband is very unsettled even just seeing the officer

Understandably so.

Is there any way to get this changed?

Unlikely.

Some police lie, just like the majority of the offenders they deal with.

Once you engage with the police expect matters to be taken out of your hands. They will deal with it as they see fit. Remember this is the organisation that doesn't believe they need oversight through IBAC.

That being said there are many good police members being brought down by the actions of a few bad coppers. I suspect some haven't realised they need public support to do their job and actions like you describe have alienated your husband and probably you as well.
 

Swizzle1984

Member
23 May 2018
3
0
1
So there's nothing I can do to right this wrong? Assuming if I engage a lawyer to assist, I'm just opening a can of worms all over again...
 

AllForHer

Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
3,664
682
2,894
Well, the thing about criminal law is that a criminal doesn't just do wrong by his or her victim. If that were the case, then absolutely, consent of the victim to bring action against the wrongdoer would be very important.

But criminals also do wrong by the legislation. It doesn't matter who the victim is, or what their view is. If a person has broken the law, the law is within its right to file charges and seek a conviction accordingly, and they don't need consent of the victim to do so.

In your case, it sounds like this wrong has already been righted, though, with the charges being dropped. It doesn't matter that the incident appears in internal state police records. Every person who has ever talked to police about anything has an internal state police record. That doesn't mean they're a criminal.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
27 May 2014
7,326
1,001
2,894
There are limits to what a lawyer and courts can do.

Courts are extremely reluctant to get involved in police operational matters and your situation seems to fit into this category.

Me thinks leave it alone, despite the feelings of injustice. Look on the bright side, it could have been worse.

Situations like yours also make it easy for the police to take a report and make an arrest. Looks good on their stats keeping in mind the police are obliged to report statistics under the Crime Statistics Act 2014 (Vic). This is opinion only and may just be me being cynical in my old age - I have no evidence of this occurring in practice.
 

Swizzle1984

Member
23 May 2018
3
0
1
Well, the thing about criminal law is that a criminal doesn't just do wrong by his or her victim. If that were the case, then absolutely, consent of the victim to bring action against the wrongdoer would be very important.

But criminals also do wrong by the legislation. It doesn't matter who the victim is, or what their view is. If a person has broken the law, the law is within its right to file charges and seek a conviction accordingly, and they don't need consent of the victim to do so.

In your case, it sounds like this wrong has already been righted, though, with the charges being dropped. It doesn't matter that the incident appears in internal state police records. Every person who has ever talked to police about anything has an internal state police record. That doesn't mean they're a criminal.

I completely understand this & agree but we have been approached by the same local station (different officers) since for something completely unrelated & the first thing they said was that they know all about my husband's history. It's got him worrying that they'll come after him again just because they can...