Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi - Part Two

The Dolphin's Brain By The Dolphin's Brain, 18th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Relationships

Charles Saatchi admits to assaulting Nigella Lawson and is cautioned, despite the police not having conducted an investigation into any alleged crime. How can this be?

A Cautionary Tale

Yesterday we had the rather strange spectacle of Charles Saatchi voluntarily attending at a police station and accepting a caution for assaulting his wife, Nigella Lawson. My earlier posting on the original incident can be found here.

Saatchi is quoted as saying "Although Nigella made no complaint, I volunteered to go to Charing Cross station and take a police caution after a discussion with my lawyer because I thought it was better than the alternative of this hanging over all of us for months."

The same article also refers to a further quote by him from the previous day, when he said, "About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella's neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point. There was no grip, it was a playful tiff."

Not only does Saatchi say Lawson made no complaint about the incident but the article itself also notes that the police confirmed that neither Lawson nor anyone else had made a complaint.

If the police do not receive a complaint then normally they do not investigate an alleged crime. Whilst they were aware of the incident, previous reports repeatedly say that no formal investigation was under way. So how is it that Saatchi has received a caution?

The usual scenario is that the police would receive information about an offence, investigate it, seek to speak to the alleged perpetrator and take it from there. On this occasion, Saatchi attended the police station voluntarily, on the advice of his lawyer, when there wasn't a police investigation in process. When anyone attends a police station 'voluntarily' it is usually because they have been asked to do so, in default of which a less gentle method of ensuring their attendance might be employed! There would appear to be no suggestion here, however, that Saatchi faced arrest if he did not volunteer to attend.

Before a caution can be administered, the police have to determine that an offence has been committed, which usually comes after some investigative work. The police then have to decide whether or not a caution is the most appropriate way forward, as opposed to a prosecution and the person who accepts the caution has to admit to having committed the offence.

The provenance of this particular caution is rather unusual and raises some questions for both Mr Saatchi and the police.

You Are Not Obliged To Say Anything But .........

Firstly, despite having categorised the incident as a 'playful tiff', Mr Saatchi has now accepted a caution, which has to have been on the basis that he agreed that he had committed a criminal offence, in this case, an assault. Presumably, at some point, Saatchi will publicly acknowledge that his original description of the incident will have to be revised. Given the very public nature of this assault, are we also to expect a public apology to his wife and those who had to witness his behaviour?

Secondly, his motivation for attending the police station was, seemingly, to prevent this incident from hanging over the family 'for months'. I may be doing the man a disservice, but this does not, at first blush, sound that contrite. Furthermore, in the absence of a complainant, and with Lawson seemingly unlikely to give evidence about the incident, why did Saatchi even consider accepting a caution. What, exactly, was it that was 'hanging over' them? Whilst the police can pursue prosecutions without a primary complainant in cases of domestic abuse, it is extremely remote that this would have occurred in this particular case. Remember, there was no police investigation, so was it the prospect of an impending prosecution that was Saatchi's main concern? If not, what was?

The role of the police in this is also intriguing. It would seem that Saatchi, on advice, attended the police station with the express intention of accepting a caution. However, this begs the question of how he could be sure that a caution would ensue, given that such a decision rests with the police initially. Whilst there is always some negotiation and discussion with respect to cautions, the idea usually is either floated by the police or emerges out of a specific conversation. Given policing in this country is expected to be a transparent process, it would be interesting to know from the police how this caution came about and how the Force's general policy on cautions was considered n this instance.

Nigella Damascena*?

Perhaps the most interesting question has to be answered by Nigella Lawson. The world now knows that her husband has admitted assaulting her. The fact that this assault occurred in public says something about Saatchi's capacity for self-control. Lawson has previously been quoted as saying Saatchi is an 'exploder' during arguments at home, so there is clearly some volatility in their relationship.

This may well be an isolated incident. In reality, only two people will know whether that is the case. If it is not, however, my question to you, Nigella, is what do you propose to do about it?

* Nigella damascena, otherwise known as love-in-a-mist, or ragged lady, is a popular annual flowering plant, most commonly a shade of blue. The name damascene refers to Damascus in Syria

© The Dolphin’s Brain 2013


Assault, Caution, Celebrity, Charles Saatchi, Domestic Abuse, Nigella Lawson, Violence

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author avatar The Dolphin's Brain
I am a mixed bag of lawyer, vegan, environmentalist and sports nut and my writing is likely to be passionate, of-the-moment articles on a wide variety of topics. I also write the occasional poem!

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