Martial Arts, the Law and You #1

Posted: August 24, 2016 by kentcma in Uncategorized

Ok so you’re all really tough, experienced martial artists, you train in multiple styles striking, grappling, ground etc to make sure you are set for the street, and the sessions you train are all reality based. What you are doing is what a lot of others before you have done including me, to make yourself into a weapon, a hard target ‘just in case’. So what’s this article all about? It’s about when it goes wrong, it’s about an extra tool that needs to be in the same toolkit as situational awareness, a jab and cross, a head-butt and all those other cool things you have honed over the years of blood sweat and tears!

Some questions for you before you start reading;

  1. Have you ever been involved in a fight you didn’t start then heard the words ‘I am arresting you on suspicion of…’?
  2. In a fight do I have to use ‘minimal violence’ or ‘reasonable force’?
  3. Am I allowed to use force to protect property?
  4. Are we allowed to use a weapon in a real fight?
  5. What’s worse what you did or what you said later?
  6. Do you need the tools to be able to say the right thing or maybe you don’t realise that it could be a whole lot worse if you don’t?

Here’s some possible outcomes with are not exhaustive – a. released without charge, b. released on bail pending further enquiries, c. formal caution, d. charged with various offences from ABH upwards,  e. remanded in custody to appear before the next available court.

There are two ways you can help to reduce possibly bad outcomes – 1. Don’t get arrested in the first place (by way of avoiding situations, being the bigger man, knowing how to get away with it etc). 2. If you are arrested deal with it in the right way.

Ok well let’s look at it this way… Police deal with violence pretty much every day they are on duty, I know as I used to be a Kent Police Officer. So you get EXTREMELY used to it as well as all the excuses people give you, mainly as they are talking or sometimes shouting at you, not listening at all. They are often giving off a particular demeanour that tends to indicate various things like anger, fear and often predictable bullshit as to why it wasn’t them blah blah blah.

This is where you should play the grey man / woman, take a deep breath and relax, if you’re ‘coming in’ (Police speak for into custody) it’s going to happen no matter what you say or do unless you are a really fast runner and lucks on your side. All that can be changed is if it’s after a struggle with cuffs on looking a total idiot, which will possibly get you further charges of resisting arrest or assault police. Or it’s in a co-operative way where you are giving the vibe of wanting to assist and get it sorted out. Either option you take is written up into the arrest statement and can go for or against you later including possible extra charges. A jury hears one person was aggressive and resisted arrest, the other was calm and helpful – which would be most likely to get off if you were the juror? HOWEVER some people are not destined at that point to be arrested, it’s what they do or say that gets the cuffs on. By taking the grey option you get to hear what the other person is saying (unless you are separated) it allows you time to think, to look around at the situation, to see if there is CCTV, witnesses and so on. These are really important things to add to your defence toolkit, when you’re interviewed later if you say something that’s blatantly a lie all of these things will just show you up as a liar!

Interview; the whole point of interview to get both versions of events for an offender and aggrieved scenario, the officer/s will pick out important ‘points to prove’ for the offence for which you were arrested. Then they will compare them to the evidence in form of other statements, witnesses, CCTV and so on. When they find a contradiction from what appears to be the generally held truth and the ‘lie’ you are telling them. They will get you to really expand on that and ‘sign up to the lie’ as it were.

e.g Three witnesses say the suspected ‘offender’ YOU crossed the street, shouted at the ‘aggrieved’ or VICTIM and then started punching him, the aggrieved happened to be a better fighter so the offender came off worse. Police arrived and both were arrested.

In interview YOU say ‘well this guy I know crossed over the road and started on me, I tried to get him to stop but he beat me up bad’. So a clear difference from your version of events and the evidence from THREE witnesses. Further questions will get you to dig your hole deeper until the officer/s present the evidence to you and say ‘I put it to you that this did not happen, you actually were the one to cross the road and…’ later at court the jury say guilty! What happened? You failed to notice the witnesses and the CCTV then told TOTAL crap about what happened.

Now the idea of this article is not ‘how to get out of jail free’, but it is to show the extreme of how people that are guilty get caught. This will help people that are innocent yet in a position where they could look guilty to get the correct disposal of the incident.

So the legal system won’t convict someone that’s innocent right!? Wrong! Here is one out of quite a few incidents that happened to people I knew. Ok one guy I knew let’s call him John heard a load of noise and went outside to find 2 youths around 18 fighting, one was across the bonnet of John’s new Saab. He did the normal things like shout stop etc etc. eventually he could see they wouldn’t stop and his car was getting damaged so he intervened, one ran off and he restrained the other till Police arrived. The youth claimed assault by John who was later advised to take a Caution. I still can’t believe this one but John got what is equivalent to a conviction for stopping a fight and protecting property! This was the sort of advice given to him by his free legal counsel and the OIC (Officer In the Case).

So in answer to Question 1 at the start of the article; YES I have, and I played the game and won at court. Not just won but made the CPS prosecutor look like a right idiot and getting one of the witnesses to totally change his statement in the court. All due to ME working out the facts, angles of sight etc and having an amazing defence lawyer to put the facts over.

Come back next time for more on what you should say and do to limit the chance of it going further, also how to justify your actions, not just to the Police but to yourself using the same tool as the Police, the Conflict Resolution Model, also answers to the other questions…


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