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Judge defends police on domestic violence cases
Bradford’s top judge has defended West Yorkshire Police’s handling of domestic violence cases after Home Secretary Theresa May called for improvements in how forces deal with such offences nationally.
Judge Roger Thomas QC, the city’s Recorder, said: “A huge proportion of cases fail because the victim won’t support the prosecution.”
He spoke out after sentencing a man whose partner claimed she was beaten up by a stranger in the city centre rather than blaming him for breaking her jaw in two places.
Judge Thomas told Bradford Crown Court yesterday: “The whole issue of domestic violence is in the public news.”
He was referring to an announcement by Mrs May who said she is speaking to Parliament about how police in England and Wales can improve the way they handle domestic violence cases. Mrs May said she had been talking to Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary “about them looking into this whole question of police response”.
But Judge Thomas said domestic violence was “treated with considerable seriousness by this court and courts up and down the country”.
He said the real problem with prosecuting such cases was that so many victims who called the police when an incident was taking place then refused to co-operate with the investigation.
Judge Thomas sentenced Ben Edwards, 19, of Denholme House Farm Drive, Denholme, to 12 months’ detention, suspended for two years, with supervision and £346 costs for causing his partner, Victoria Quinn, grievous bodily harm on July 14.
He fractured the 24-year-old’s jaw in two places by punching her up to five times when she went home to bed after they argued on a night out in Bradford.
Miss Quinn did not call the police and declined to support Edwards’ prosecution.
The case against him succeeded because he was immediately frank with officers about what he had done.
The court heard the couple had recently had a baby and were still together.
Edwards was a hard working man of previous good character, the court was told.
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