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UK Law, Criminal and Civil(Domestic) difference

  1. Nov 25, 2009 #1
    Hi, I have a bit of a situation, hence require some knowledge with regards to the matter.
    As far as I'm aware eyewitness testimony's don't stand in court even if said witness was an authorized law enforcement you'd need hard evidence to prosecute, i.e. video record, DNA etc.

    However, in London there are domestic workers (Environmental workers) who seek and prosecute for littering (I.e. go through bins), now my question is that if one of these workers saw me throw something (hangers) but has no video evidence only photographic evidence of hangers on the floor, wouldn't it essentially be "my word against his" or within domestic law is there a difference in such way that an authorized civil worker could testify as a witness?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 25, 2009 #2


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    I think you're talking about different things. The people who search through bins are looking for something to tie you to the litter (letters, etc..), which is then proof enough that you did the littering. If an officer sees you through something onto the floor, then I think he will just give you an £80 ticket, and that this won't go to court, so the whole eyewitness thing is moot.

    Regardless, the one way you can avoid this is not to litter. There is no excuse, since there are litter bins everywhere. It doesn't take much to keep hold of the rubbish, or put it in your pocket, until you get to a bin.
  4. Nov 25, 2009 #3
    They dont give you an on the dot fine, instead they take the evidence away and find a way to convict you then issue a fine, however I don't think I was clear, the litter is at a designated area where only on Sundays (the day of the incident) littering at that point is forbidden, all I'm really interested about is whether an authorized workers witnessing you throwing something would suffice, since if I were to appeal it would get taken to court whereby it would be my word against his, no?
  5. Nov 25, 2009 #4


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    Presumably this is more serious than someone dropping a crisp packet, since something of that nature would be dealt with by a fixed penalty notice (a fine for around £80, depending upon your borough). This is presumably a commercial offence.

    I don't know what would happen if you were to appeal, but they must have some evidence and I would hazard a guess that, if it was your word vs. his, his word would carry more weight, since that is his job.

    What would your grounds for appeal be? You've just admitted that you littered.. are you going to lie in court?
  6. Nov 25, 2009 #5
    Granted his word may carry more weight due to his line of work, however, without video recording of the incident surely such a charge cannot be processed. I'm only speculating if this were to happen, since I intend to argue with the domestic guys this weekend. However like I said I'm not 100% sure in terms of the laws in the UK regarding this matter and whether or not evidence is required.

    For instance, digital photographs of cars parked on single/double yellow are taken for proof, similarly a police cannot prosecute you on grounds of speeding simply because 'it seems you're going fast', evidence is required. in conjunction to what I was saying, a simple collection of hangers would not suffice evidence is required; me, throwing the hangers, or am I wrong in thinking this?
  7. Nov 25, 2009 #6


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    The level of proof for civil cases is not proof beyond all reasonable doubt, as it is for criminal cases. If you take this to a magistrate's court, the prosecution only needs to show that it is more probable than not that you committed the crime (I think this is called 'balance of probabilities'). I'm not a magistrate and don't know all the details, so I cannot say whether or not you will be found guilty.
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