Step 7 - Prosecution

The Courts will arrange for an initial hearing where the defendant can indicate their likely plea and a date will be set for a trial or if the defendant is pleading guilty a sentencing hearing will be set at a later date. If a trial is required the courts currently have a significant workload and delays of between 6-8 months are not unusual. Should a trial be expected you will be contacted by WRS Legal Officer who will advise you on the process.

It is vital that you attend court as the laws pertaining to nuisance centre around the effect that it has on the complainant. If you are unwilling to attend court for whatever reason you must immediately contact the investigating officer as this will prevent your case from proceeding.

You will be asked by the prosecution to explain how the noise has affected you in particular relating to the dates where there is evidence of a breach of the notice. You will then be cross examined by the defence solicitor or maybe by the defendant themselves. It is important that you are familiar with all the information that you have included in your witness statement and have copies of original notes that you made at the time which you may be able to refer to.

The courts in nuisance prosecutions can only fine defendants that are found guilty dependent on their means (this is also the case in commercial nuisance cases). The fine will also depend on the aggravating factors of the offence and the defendants previous history. The Court has no powers to imprison people for breach of abatement notices and you must understand that you will still need to live next door to your neighbour and the noise may continue for whatever reason. Should prosecutions prove to be unsuccessful then costs will be awarded against the Council.

Steps 4 and 6 will need to be repeated and fresh evidence gathered to prove that this is occurring. In rare cases the council may seek at this point to secure an injunction if it cannot secure compliance with a noise abatement notice following successive prosecutions.

Follow the link to go back to the 7 steps of nuisance investigation.