The problem of roommate harassment is becoming more prevalent among tenants in London and across the UK. The number of articles detailing tenants’ experiences of harassment and distressing interactions with flatmates increases every year.
But what happens when you are arrested because of your reaction to the harassment you have received?
This is what happened to our client Ms B in April this year.
Ms B noticed one day that her personal items were being moved in the flat.
When Ms B saw her flatmate Ms Y in the kitchen that day, she asked her about the whereabouts of some of her belongings. Ms Y informed her that she didn’t know what had happened to Ms B’s belongings and began to heatedly argue with her about the accusation.
Another flatmate, Mr C, at this time entered the kitchen. He also began to heatedly argue with Ms B, intimidating her with his size and aggression.
At this point, Mr C and Ms Y alleged that Ms B became increasingly agitated and drew a bread knife from the counter. Ms B’s flatmates made false accusations of her threatening to kill them with a kitchen knife.
At this point, both Ms B and Ms Y called 999.
The police arrived at the scene and Ms B explained to the police that she felt threated and intimidated by the increasingly erratic and aggressive behaviour she experienced from her housemates, in particular Mr C.
Ms B was questioned and charged with two counts of common assault, and the bread knife was seized by the police.
Stuart Miller Solicitors’ criminal defence solicitor Duygu Basiguzel was instructed by Ms B on this case. She instructed Duygu that she did not have the knife in her possession at the time of this alleged altercation.
Duygu made representations, which means to complain officially on behalf of the client to the Crown Prosecution Service, that Ms B did not have the knife in her possession at the time of this alleged incident and was therefore not guilty of common assault.
At this point in the case, the two complainants – Ms Y and Mr C – withdrew their statements and requested that they did not wish to pursue the police investigation any longer. Duygu made further representations to the Crown that demonstrated the lack of evidence against our client.
In this case, Ms B’s case was dismissed due to insufficient evidence to prove her guilt, and she was not required to stand trial.