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16 January 2006




Is accepting a caution an acceptance of guilt?

Tony Hatfield

That is the theory. But in practice there is often unbearable pressure on those arrested for sexual offences to get out of the nick as soon as possible.A decision helped by the certain knowlegde it avoids a public hearing. Even those who are acquitted of these offences often find themselves subject to violent persecution.
Hobson's Choice?


Ronnie Smartt

Thanks, Tony. I apologise for my importunity But I knew you would have something useful to say, perhaps more useful now in view of today's proposal to let the prosecutor and the police impose the penalty where there is a plea of guilty to minor offences. A proper hearing, a proper verdict and a considered sentence are part of civilised life and not just a problem for HM Treasury.

Tony Hatfield

I am mulling over the consequences of this proposal.You'll probably have to wait till tomorrow.


Thanks for the clarification. As a doctor I have been told never to accept a caution, as cautions and all criminal convictions are notified to the GMC -- therefore best to take your chance with a magistrate/jury!

I hasten to add I have never been in a position to need to accept a caution or rely on the judgement of a magistrate/jury.

jonathon dempsey


I was very interested to see your article regarding the 'simple' caution. I have a situation currently involving someone very close to me, who 'accepted' a simple caution. It is a very tragic case and I would really like to discuss it with you.If you would like to help please let me know how I can get in touch with you.


I was arrested for picking up my own bike lock, which i'd dropped on that route a few weeks previously and lost hope of finding. Walking on that short (less than a mile route), i saw the exact same make, and model of bike lock that i'd lost out riding, in some tall grass..realising it to be my lock i picked it up and started to head home so as to try my key (left at home) on it. A police car suddenly pulled up, i was cuffed and not allowed to explain or prove my story. Then i was put in a cell for 6 hours and pressured with the threat of 'finding a way' of getting me a criminal conviction which would make me lose my job and be unemployable. Pressured constantly to accept a caution, and told it would only be on my record for 1/2 yrs max and employers would never know about it i accepted and signed the caution, i was not allowed to see a solicitor nor talk to one. Under further pressure was made to record the officers account and accept i'd picked up something that wasn't mine from the street. ON signing the caution i read it and saw that i'll have it on my record for 5 yrs that i committed theft and admitted to it and that all employers will see this when they do a CRB check...to top it all they stole my lock! also am in process of changing career to a teacher/related profession and it terrifies me that this farce may stop me from getting a career and moving on after many years of low paid dead end work because of a history of depression. It's a police state now.


Thanks for dropping by.
I think you need a lawyer....and a good'un


thanks, i contacted a solicitor and by sheer coincidence he says he was the duty solicitor at the station that day..he'd asked if i wanted advice but they'd been lying to both him and me telling me 'there wasn't one available in the whole region'..and him that i 'didn't want a solicitor'.. I was rail-roaded with the absurd allegation of 'theft by finding'and i just hope this solicitor is a good one as you describe as my whole future and life may depend on it..i have read a few horror stories, one on AMnesty internationals website that show how a simple caution has ruined peoples careers and future career prospects because employers are cowardly and err on the cynical side of doubt when confronted with such a caution..a bit like saying 'don't think of a pink elephant' thats the first thing you think, don't think of my caution' opens up doubt which isnt good..i am considering leaving the country if this cant be resolved as am 37 and tired of bad luck dogging me..


Don't think i have the patience to wait in this country til judicial review is undertaken, not happy about this but this has made me decide to leave the country, as this oppressive system which is the government handing to much power over to their guard dogs', has been the final nail in the coffin so to speak. Ironic considering my family came here as refugees in the seventies that i'm now being pushed away by a burgeoning oppressive police state style system.


My solicitor just got my record sheet from the station, and to top it all it says 'arrested for suspicion of drugs possession', I had a tub of medication from the doctor with my name and the medicines name on it which they did mention in interview but seemed to accept my explanation..so these thugs vindictively put down a condition of arrest which will come up on enhanced CRB checks alongside 'cautioned for theft by finding'..they have pretty much ruined any future career i want to do, they're just football thugs with a badge..i hate them totally now..and i guess i have to go back to Chile which i left at 3 years old for above reason..

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