Notifying the Offender
Where there is no prosecution, or where the criminal charge(s) have been dismissed or withdrawn the Tribunal may have to conduct an investigation to determine whether it is satisfied that the act of violence occurred. While this rarely occurs, the Tribunal may consider notifying the alleged offender to provide them with an opportunity to appear at a hearing to contest the allegations made.
The Tribunal is always mindful of the potential discomfort and additional distress caused to applicants in the relatively few matters where an alleged offender is notified of an application. The applicant is advised, as required by the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996, if the Tribunal is considering notifying the alleged offender and is always given an opportunity to make submissions in opposition. Moreover, the Tribunal is able to limit the distress likely to be caused by an alleged offender attending a hearing by making orders for alternative arrangements, for instance, enabling evidence to be given via video link or allowing a support person to be present with the applicant.
Process for notification of the alleged offender
The Tribunal will advise the applicant/solicitor in writing that notification is being considered. If an objection to the notification is lodged, the Tribunal Member will consider all relevant matters and make a decision as to whether the alleged offender will be notified.
If notification is still to take place, the applicant/solicitor will first be advised of this in writing allowing twenty one days to advise whether the claim is still to be pursued. If the applicant/solicitor still wishes to pursue the claim, or no response is received, notification will be sent to the alleged offender.
If no response is received from the alleged offender, the application will be listed and the applicant/solicitor will be advised that the alleged offender will not be attending. If the alleged offender elects to be notified of the hearing, the application will be listed for a Directions Hearing.
Practice Direction 4 of 2008 - Notification of alleged offenders and third parties sets out the process of the Tribunal for the notification of an Alleged Offender.