The Salem News reports that a Salem Superior Court judge released Nicholas Pratt, 24 of Salem who is accused of shaking his infant son during a fight with the child’s mother on Mother’s Day. The prosecutor argued that Pratt was a danger and should remain behind bars however, Judge Timothy Feeley released him to live with his friend and employer.
According to reports, Pratt is charged with two counts of domestic assault and battery on his six month old son and his girlfriend. The baby was examined and found to have an injury to his eye. Apparently, there was an indication that the child suffered a previous skull fracture. Authorities do not know how or when that injury occurred. There is also an additional charge of intimidation of a witness. Depending on the facts of a case in which domestic assault and battery has been alleged, the charge of intimidation of a witness often stems from attempts that the defendant may have made to prevent the complainant from contacting the police.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 268 § 13B provides that witness intimidation requires proof that (1) an individual was a witness in a stage of a criminal proceeding, and that the defendant (2) wilfully endeavored or tried to influence the witness, (3) did so by means of intimidation, force, or threats of force, or the offering of inducements, and (4) did so with the specific intent of influencing the witness. In Massachusetts, the witness intimidation statute punishes anyone who willfully endeavors to intimidate a witness; it does not require that the intimidation be successful. An experienced Massachusetts defense attorney can challenge the prosecutor’s case by establishing that the government fell short on proving any one of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
When facing charges of domestic violence in Massachusetts it is imperative that a defendant be familiar with the rules that govern the issuance of a restraining order. In order to apply for a restraining order a complainant must demonstrate that he or she is in reasonable apprehension of immediate physical harm. When there is a request for a restraining order and a hearing is going to take place while a criminal case is pending, a defendant should seek the advice of an experienced Massachusetts domestic violence lawyer before speaking at any hearing. Under most circumstances, any statements made by a defendant during a restraining order hearing can be used against him or her at trial. The decision whether to speak during this hearing in an attempt to prevent the order from issuing but risking providing the District Attorney with potentially damaging evidence is an important one. Making the wrong decision may affect the outcome of your criminal case.
If you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence or have been served with a restraining order contact Our Attorney and she will get to work on your case immediately. Our Attorney routinely appears in local courthouses in Peabody, Lowell, Lawrence and Newburyport and fights for the rights of her clients.