Sunday, 1 June 2003

Losing Faith in the System

Let's take a brief trip back in time, just a few months, to January 23rd, 2003. Having seen the article written about him on this very web site, my former employer, Mark Edwards, decided to take the law into his own hands.

    Having failed in his attempt to have me arrested for the heinous crime of saying he was an idiot, Mark, along with his wife Diane, drove their car past me and my brother Paul as we walked into Cromer early that evening. Mark leapt out of the car, and attacked me. No injuries were sustained on my part, but things would have been a lot worse had Paul not restrained him. Moments later as I turned my back on the situation and began to walk away, Diane started hitting me in the lower back.

    Needless to say the Police were called. A woman constable visited my house the following evening, and I made a statement. The constable wrote down everything I said, and told me Victim Support would be in touch with me in the next few days.

    Now skip forward to the end of June. I received a letter from the Cromer Magistrates Court. The letter told me that both Mark and Diane Edwards had been found guilty of assault by beating on May 22nd, and that both persons had been fined. To say that I was angry when I read this letter would be an understatement.

    Why am I so angry? Because from the day of the statement, until the day I received the letter, I had heard nothing about my case. I had no contact from Victim Support. I had received no indication from the Crown Prosecution Service or the Police that they were going to proceed with the case. I had been kept entirely in the dark.

    Let's look at the facts here - I was the victim of a crime, yet I wasn't told a damn thing by the authorities about what was happening with my case. I know that "assault by beating" isn't exactly high on the list of crimes at times.

    But surely as the victim of the crime I should have been kept informed about just what was going on?

    Speaking to some people who have had similar dealings with the authorities in the past, I was told that what happened was quite unusual, and that by law I should have been kept informed of what was happening at all times. When I heard nothing from both the Police and the CPS I thought they were going to drop the case. The first I actually heard that they were proceeding/had proceeded was in May, and that was when I heard that the Edwards had been found guilty.

    Another question that comes up is the fact that it took month for the news of the court case to reach me via snail mail. I know the CPS is a very busy institution, but surely someone, either from the CPS or the Police could have picked up the telephone and said "Hello Mr. Radbourne. Your case has just gone to court. The accused were found guilty."

    I was glad that Mark Edwards was found guilty. It was sad that I wasn't there to see the final result. He deserved everything I got, and this will probably be the last time I write about him on this web site of mine.

    But I'm hurt and angry that the authorities let me down. No Victim Support. Nobody told me what the hell was going on.

    And they wonder why people are losing faith in "the system".