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Possible perjury case help needed please


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To summarise, if I've understood your argument correctly:

 

The High Court says it isn't illegal to take your child on holiday during term time without the school's permission, so Steve could never have been convicted, so any lies on the stand can't be perjury as they can't have altered the inevitable outcome of him being found not guilty of the primary offence.

 

Brilliant defence work!

 

There is just one teeny-weeny minor flaw ......

 

http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2017/28.html

 

The case was appealed, went to the Supreme Court in the end, and the Supreme Court said it could be illegal to take your child out of school during term time without the school's permission, and sent it back to the magistrates, who found Mr Platt guilty......

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-40381825

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Well that is most unfortunate!

 

However, in Steve's case here, his child's absence from school was largely due to illness, so those times won't count against him as far as attending school regularly is concerned. If the prosecution goes ahead, it will be down to the court to decide if Steve did lie about the holiday and whether it was material to it's previous decision.

 

So there is still hope for Steve in the posted circumstances of his case.

 

The L A in this case appear to be seeking to have the acquittal decision ruled as wrong by this proposed prosecution for reason of it's allegation of perjury, but the ill health of his child provided him with a statutory defence in the original trial, so, depending on the % of attendance at the school before the holiday, it remains to be established whether Steve has committed an offence.

 

Time will tell, no doubt.

 

Thanks for posting those links BazzaS!

 

Haunter

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I'm still not convinced you've grasped what the Supreme Court decided "regularly" meant (at least as far as for school attendance!).

 

It isn't "to x % of attendances excluding those absences due to ill health".

It is "according to the rules set by the school" (provided the law doesn't give an exemption, such as religious holidays)

 

So, forget the days when Richard really was off ill, and concentrate on when he wasn't ill.

 

If Richard wasn't ill, it doesn't matter what percentage Richard attended the rest of the time if the school had denied him permission to be off and his absence broke the schools rules.

If Steve then lied about Richard being ill when he wasn't, to make a false statement in order to escape being found guilty, he is still at risk of being found guilty of perjury.

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I do understand, I know ill health is included in the calculation regarding attendances, but being absent from school because of sickness is a valid reason for not being there.

 

If Steve did indeed lie and say his son was off ill when he was really on holiday, then Steve is in a lot of trouble, because such a lie is material in respect of the school's rules on it's pupils attendances when the parent(s) has no valid reason for his child not being there.

 

I think that now the L A has Steve on it's radar, they're never going to leave him alone! So this perjury allegation is really just the beginning of his troubles!

 

Haunter

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There was a ruling in the High Court last year where the court held that a father who took his daughter on holiday during term time had not broken any law, and the fine of £120 imposed upon him was overruled and quashed (originally the fine was £60).

 

In this appeal case before the High Court, the court said there was no evidence before it to prove that the child did not attend school regularly.

 

So, in the case of Steve here, it appears he did not break any law by taking his child on holiday during term time, therefore, during the trial the fact that he did take his child on holiday but not talk about it in the proceedings has absolutely no bearing on his acquittal, his child was off school sick on a number of occasions, this is perfectly legal, Steve took his child on holiday during term time, again, this is perfectly legal.

 

Even if the L A/CPS can prove that Steve lied and said “No, we didn’t go on holiday”, it will change nothing in respect of his acquittal, because the law is that the child must attend school regularly, and Steve and his family’s art.8 Convention Rights provide protection for their privacy, home life and correspondence, meaning that their holiday, term time or not, is private and of no business whatsoever of the L A.

 

No law has been broken here, a minor lie may have been told by Steve, but that lie, if it was a lie, is immaterial to the L A’s case at the trial.

 

s.1(6) of the Perjury Act 1911 provides:

“The question whether a statement on which perjury is assigned was material is a question of law to be determined by the court of trial”.

 

Any lie or false statement alleged must be proven to have been intended to interfere with the due administration of justice, taking his child on holiday and allegedly denying this under oath does not change the acquittal decision, it is immaterial to the decision of the court to acquit Steve, because taking his child on holiday during term time without the school’s consent is not illegal.

 

The gist of this case is that the L A accused Steve of keeping his child off school without valid reason, this was proven to be untrue at the trial and Steve was acquitted.

The L A are now saying, after discovering evidence after that trial, that Steve unlawfully took his child on holiday during term time and lied at the trial by saying his child was off sick for that particular 1 or 2 weeks, this has no bearing on the acquittal decision, because no doubt Steve must have produce medical evidence from the family GP confirming the ill health of his child being the reason why he was not at school.

 

Taking your child on holiday during term time is not illegal in the UK, regular attendance at school is the criteria of law that a parent must satisfy, so even if Steve did lie under oath and deny the holiday, it is a minor lie that has not interfered with the court’s decision to acquit him of any wrongdoing.

 

In this case here, if the CPS go ahead with a prosecution, then it will need to prove that Steve’s alleged lie caused the court to make a decision in his favour that it otherwise would not have done so if the alleged lie had not been said. That is what perjury is.

 

Again, without the full details/circumstances of the previous proceedings, and what the precise allegation is now made against Steve, it is quite difficult to say if he has a defence or not against the allegation/charge.

 

I do hope though that the above information will help Steve, but he should get himself professional representation as soon as possible from experienced criminal defence solicitors.

 

Haunter.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39504338

 

Then it went to the supreme court and he lost.

Whatever I post is my opinion and should be taken as such, an opinion. While it is what I believe and is offered in good faith, it should not be taken as a statement of truth

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I think there might be a misunderstanding here, I'm talking about Steve's trial, when was it?

 

Haunter

 

s.444 Education Act 1996, so far as is relevant to Steve’s case, as far as the details of it posted here by UK26, provide:

 

(1B) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (1A) to prove that he had a reasonable justification for his failure to cause the child to attend regularly at the school.

 

(2A) The child shall not be taken to have failed to attend regularly at the school by reason of his absence from the school at any time if the parent proves that at that time the child was prevented from attending by reason of sickness or any unavoidable cause.

 

As far as (1B) is concerned, perhaps it is the case that Steve took his child on the holiday booked by Brian during term time because the holiday was not at peak times and therefore cheaper, perhaps Steve cannot afford to take his child on holiday during the peak holiday period where prices are far more expensive.

 

This would be nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of, millions of people in our country are struggling financially, and Steve and his child/family are fully entitled to have a holiday, a break, 1 or 2 weeks out of mainstream schooling is not going to cause any harm to his child’s education whatsoever, and in fact, mainstream schooling is exclusive to and limited to ‘desk work’ in a classroom of around 20 to 30 odd other pupils, and pupils of the same age have different attributes and they learn at different times to each other. Going on holiday to different places and meeting different people and their cultures, being by the sea looking for sea shells and perhaps seeing crabs, making sand castles, swimming etc. etc is educating for any child.

 

Why should any child be deprived of a holiday simply because the parent or parents cannot afford the prices of a holiday during peak times?

 

As for (2A), well we know, don’t we, from what UK26 has posted here, that Steve’s child was absent from school because of sickness, and this sub-section provides a statutory defence to any parent who keeps their child off school because the child is not well.

 

What we don’t know is all the facts and circumstances of Steve’s case and the trial he was put on, but it does seem to me that his L A has got it in for him!

 

What harm, what suffering has been caused to Steve’s child’s education and therefore his welfare, the paramount consideration, simply because his loving father took him on holiday for 1 or 2 weeks during term time?

 

Sounds like the L A and the school are on a ‘witch hunt’ to me!

 

Haunter

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I think the problem arises because he claimed the child was ill and was not and they went off on the jollies.

 

Devils advocate here.

Its not a right to go on holiday.

It is a ECHR right for the right of an education. Te LA are securing that right for the child. That outweighs the parent.

 

But in reality it does seem a bit of a witch hunt here

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This would be nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of, millions of people in our country are struggling financially, and Steve and his child/family are fully entitled to have a holiday, a break, 1 or 2 weeks out of mainstream schooling is not going to cause any harm to his child’s education whatsoever, and in fact, mainstream schooling is exclusive to and limited to ‘desk work’ in a classroom of around 20 to 30 odd other pupils, and pupils of the same age have different attributes and they learn at different times to each other. Going on holiday to different places and meeting different people and their cultures, being by the sea looking for sea shells and perhaps seeing crabs, making sand castles, swimming etc. etc is educating for any child.

 

Why should any child be deprived of a holiday simply because the parent or parents cannot afford the prices of a holiday during peak times?

..........

 

What harm, what suffering has been caused to Steve’s child’s education and therefore his welfare, the paramount consideration, simply because his loving father took him on holiday for 1 or 2 weeks during term time?

 

Regarding the primary offence : the Supreme Court disagreed.

They made a ruling (in part on a "public policy" basis, as they felt it isn't just the education of the individual child affected. It impacts on the teacher's workload and the "group learning".

You may agree or disagree, but that is what the Supreme Court ruled.

 

If a child is well enough to go off on holiday it is likely they'll be considered well enough to go to school (absent e.g. the holiday being suggested by a healthcare professional as part of rehabilitation!)

 

However, once the primary offence remains a prosecutable one, things have moved on for Steve with the potentially false statement in court.

 

He has been acquitted of the primary offence (for now! If found guilty of perjury the case may be reheard "in the interests of justice").

Instead of facing a £120 fine, he is now facing a whole bigger kettle of fish.

 

Perjury is regarded as "one of the most serious offences on the criminal calendar because it wholly undermines the whole basis of the administration of justice" : Chapman J in R v Warne (1980) 2 Cr. App.R. (S) 42. It is regarded as serious whether it is committed in the context of a minor case, for example a car passenger who falsely states that the driver did not jump a red light as alleged, or a serious case,

.............

By section 1(1) of the Perjury Act 1911, perjury is committed when:

 

a lawfully sworn witness or interpreter

in judicial proceedings

wilfully makes a false statement

which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true, and

which is material in the proceedings.

The offence is triable only on indictment and carries a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment and/or a fine.

 

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/public_justice_offences_incorporating_the_charging_standard/

 

Since Steve has already had his interview under caution regarding the allegation of perjury, and gave a no comment interview;

Did he have legal advice and representation before he gave the no comment interview? Did he give a prepared statement as well as then saying "no comment" or purely "no comment"??

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2 issues spring to mind.

 

1) Steve can bring whatever he likes up as his defence.

Yet, is it believable enough to introduce reasonable doubt?

How long was the holiday? Why take Richard on the holiday if he was ill?

 

2) Steve has had his interview under caution. Why did he not mention it there? "It may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something that you later rely on in court",

and (when he gave a 'no comment' interview) did he get warned of the "adverse influence" of silence under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, s 34......

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/section/34

 

The jury can make whatever inference is "proper" as to why he didn't mention it when interviewed if they feel he could have and should have mentioned it if it were true and had happened ...

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True! It's unfortunate that we are all 'in the dark' as to the facts, so I guess we are all looking at different scenarios as to what has happened and trying to come up with as much info as we can in the hope that it might help poor Steve.

 

I hope UK26 comes back and let's us know the facts and realities that led to the trial and the trial itself!

 

Haunter

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I think the problem arises because he claimed the child was ill and was not and they went off on the jollies.

 

Devils advocate here.

Its not a right to go on holiday.

It is a ECHR right for the right of an education. Te LA are securing that right for the child. That outweighs the parente

 

Then the LA should ensure the

ECHR rights at all times during term time as the education of the child is paramount. Therefore if a school gives a day off because of teacher training or administration or allows children to go on organised overseas trips or allows teachers to strike then the ECHR rights of the children have been breached by the school and the LA or head should be held liable? Or maybe these should be banned in the best interest of the children? Teachers shouldn't be allowed to strike if stopping a child getting 1 day education is so critical as spouted by the schools and education minister. Seems very one sided.

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The Supreme Court disagrees: they believe the school can set the rules. It isn't about the education of one individual child, but all of them, on a "public policy" basis.

 

If the school decides a group trip is in order, or a training day for the staff, and that overall the education of the children is best served by this : they can do so.

 

The same for when the school authorises leave (for an individual child, during term time) : within the school's power to assess what benefits the most, the most.

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total days off school 9

 

due to sickness 7

holiday 2

 

s.444 Education Act 1996, so far as is relevant to Steve’s case, as far as the details of it posted here by UK26, provide:

 

(1B) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (1A) to prove that he had a reasonable justification for his failure to cause the child to attend regularly at the school.

 

(2A) The child shall not be taken to have failed to attend regularly at the school by reason of his absence from the school at any time if the parent proves that at that time the child was prevented from attending by reason of sickness or any unavoidable cause.

 

As far as (1B) is concerned, perhaps it is the case that Steve took his child on the holiday booked by Brian during term time because the holiday was not at peak times and therefore cheaper, perhaps Steve cannot afford to take his child on holiday during the peak holiday period where prices are far more expensive.

 

This would be nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of, millions of people in our country are struggling financially, and Steve and his child/family are fully entitled to have a holiday, a break, 1 or 2 weeks out of mainstream schooling is not going to cause any harm to his child’s education whatsoever, and in fact, mainstream schooling is exclusive to and limited to ‘desk work’ in a classroom of around 20 to 30 odd other pupils, and pupils of the same age have different attributes and they learn at different times to each other. Going on holiday to different places and meeting different people and their cultures, being by the sea looking for sea shells and perhaps seeing crabs, making sand castles, swimming etc. etc is educating for any child.

 

Why should any child be deprived of a holiday simply because the parent or parents cannot afford the prices of a holiday during peak times?

 

As for (2A), well we know, don’t we, from what UK26 has posted here, that Steve’s child was absent from school because of sickness, and this sub-section provides a statutory defence to any parent who keeps their child off school because the child is not well.

 

What we don’t know is all the facts and circumstances of Steve’s case and the trial he was put on, but it does seem to me that his L A has got it in for him!

 

What harm, what suffering has been caused to Steve’s child’s education and therefore his welfare, the paramount consideration, simply because his loving father took him on holiday for 1 or 2 weeks during term time?

 

Sounds like the L A and the school are on a ‘witch hunt’ to me!

 

Haunter

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total days off school 9

 

due to sickness 7

holiday 2

 

1: it being “7/9 (77.8%) really was sick” is still irrelevant to the primary allegation, as while the offence may not have been committed on all 9 days, it appears it still was on 2.

2 : forget the primary allegation (at least, for now!) : Steve is now facing far worse than a £120 fine, since the alleged perjury is an indictable only offence (so can’t be heard in Magistrates Court, only Crown Court) and if convicted carries a sentence of up to seven years imprisonment and/or a fine up to “the statutory maximum” (which has now been amended to be “unlimited”).

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Alright UK26, thank you for that information.

 

Was Steve asked by the prosecutor about those particular 2 days?

 

For an example: Did the prosecutor say, "Was your child at school on the 8th and 9th of June?"

 

Steve answers, "No".

 

Prosecutor says, "Was your child sick on those 2 days?"

 

Steve answers, "Yes he was".

 

Can you let us know please UK26? Thank you.

 

Haunter

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No to all your questions.

 

 

However the Jude said at the end. "Was any of the dates for Holiday" and Steve Answered No.

 

the dates dated back almost a year ago and Steve claims he was only drilled about the sickness.

 

The council wanted Sick notes and the doctor sent the school a letter stating they do not provide them.

the court said to the council, how is steve meant to prove stickness and the council said sicknotes.

 

 

the judge was annoyed with the council and found steve not guilty as submitted evidence by the council was the doctors letter and the Courts view was the council was asking Steve to prove something which was not possible.

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However the Jude said at the end. "Was any of the dates for Holiday" and Steve Answered No.

 

Was this “at the end” question before or after the finding of ‘not guilty’?

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not sure as Steve cannot remember

 

It'd be unusual for a judge to (in effect) ask: "So, did you do it?", after ruling there was no case to answer.

So, it seems likely it was a question (before the finding of not guilty), that affected the judge's ruling, and Steve is in a spot of bother!.

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Thank you UK26 for providing those facts to Steve’s trial.

 

Seeing that Steve was questioned exclusively on the sickness days, he has answered truthfully and therefore has no committed an offence of perjury.

 

The judge’s mind was focused on the sickness days also, that was the matter in issue before him as put by the school, the judge’s question therefore relates exclusively to the same, the judge was asking Steve if any of those sickness days were holidays, and Steve answered truthfully and said “No”.

 

In my opinion, based on these facts, Steve has not committed the offence of perjury as alleged by the school and the L A.

 

Haunter

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