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Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001

Section 40: Harming witnesses etc

124.Subsection (1) provides that a person commits an offence if, in the circumstances covered by subsection (2), he does an act which harms and is intended to harm another person; or, if intending to cause another person to fear harm, he threatens to do an act which would harm the other person.

125.Subsection (2) describes the circumstances referred to in subsection (1) which must exist in order for the offence to be committed. The circumstances are that

  • the person doing or threatening to do the act must do so knowing or believing that another person (regardless of whether they are the person against whom the harm is threatened) has been a witness in relevant proceedings (as defined in section 40); and

  • he must do or threaten that act because of that knowledge or belief.

126.Subsection (3) creates a presumption that the defendant had the motive required under subsection (2)(b) where it is proved that after the commencement of proceedings and within one year of the commencement of those proceedings, he did, or threatened to do, an act which would harm another person and did so knowing or believing that either that person or someone else had been a witness in relevant proceedings. The defendant is entitled to call evidence to rebut the presumption and to do so he need only satisfy the court on the balance of probabilities that he did not have a motive.

127.Subsection (7) widens the definition of witness which applies to offences under this section. This wider definition is similar to that in subsection (5) of section 39 which applies to offences under that section.

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