Sexual Offences

Sexual Offences

The law relating to sexual offences can be complicated, especially where the issue of consent arises. Our criminal defence solicitors have significant experience in dealing with a whole spectrum of sexual offence matters. Being accused of such allegations can be a distressful situation. Our solicitors have expert training in professionally dealing with such offences from a defence perspective. Our aim is to allow clients to feel confident and comfortable in discussing the allegations against them.

Trials for offences of this kind are complex and require expert representation. It is common for the only evidence to be the account of the complainant. To be acquitted of such charges, the credibility and version of events put forward by the complainant must be challenged so that the jury cannot find the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt. We have access to specialist and experienced counsel who have successfully defended clients in these scenarios.

Since COVID-19 allegations of a domestic nature which involve sexual offences such as rape have increased significantly. We are not afraid to explore any defence, whether that requires expert analysis of DNA, forensics and other evidence, or specialist cross-examination.

If you are currently under investigation or have been charged with a sexual offence, contact us today to discuss your matter in detail in confidence.

This offence was created to replace the old offence of indecent assault. The offence is committed if the accused intentionally touches another person, the touching is sexual, the other person does not consent and the accused does not reasonably believe he had consent. ALL of these elements must be proven beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution to secure a conviction.

It must be proven that the touching is sexual in nature. Our solicitors have previously represented tailors facing such allegations where part of their job involved touching their clients, and they had no such sexual intentions.

The touching itself includes touching with any part of the body, with anything else and through any clothing. The prosecution must also prove that the complainant did not consent. This can require expert cross-examination to challenge the complainant’s account that they did not consent.

The elements of rape require the intentional penile penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth of another person, without their consent and the accused must have no reasonable belief in consent. Therefore, by law women cannot rape men as they lack the penile element, although women can be an accessory to rape.

Allegations of marital rape are common, where a wife may refuse consent whilst having sexual intercourse with her husband, irrespective of their previous sexual activity in the relationship.

Accidental penetration does not amount to rape.

This offence is one of the most serious sexual offences and carries significant custodial sentences. One of the most common contentious issues in such cases is that of consent. Our solicitors have previously represented clients who believed that they had reasonable consent from the complainant based on their previous sexual experiences and that nothing was demonstrated at the time from the complainant that they did not consent. Remember, such trials are held before a jury. It is the jury who must find the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Even the slightest doubt in the allegation or evidence can result in acquittal.

It is common for people to watch and store pornography. However, this has its limits and certain offences are committed when in possession of, whilst distributing or creating material which is classed as illegal. This can be looking at pornography involving underage children as well as distributing such material. Often, such material is found on the accused’s devices purely by accident as part of a separate allegation.  It is common for people to be part of groups on social media, including on whatsapp where material is often shared and automatically downloaded without viewing. You must be careful as to what you send and are sent.

Our solicitors have successfully represented clients who were completely unaware that such material was on their device and it was likely that said material appeared via viruses or being sent on social media and the device automatically storing it in the gallery. Such investigations involve seizure of electronic devices and the content is forensically downloaded to show how the user of the devices has accessed certain material.

During COVID-19 there has been an increased crackdown on such crimes. There is an increased presence of vigilante groups who are completely independent from the justice system, acting outside of their remit, attempting to find and incriminate potential paedophiles. This may be through creating fake social media profiles and communicating with adults who show the intention to have sexual relationships with children.

It is an offence to be communicating with a child under the age of 16 and the communication is of a sexual nature. Expert analysis of evidence as well as potential mitigation is required to minimise the impact on the accused’s life. It is common to be placed on Sex Offenders Registers which can create huge problems in securing future employment.

Our solicitors have successfully defended clients wrongly accused of this offence. It is common for people to let others use their phones, or for others to create profiles online and in your name. Where the prosecution cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt that it was the accused who made such communication with the intention for it to be sexual, the case cannot be proven and you should be found not guilty.

If you are facing allegations of this offence, it is imperative that you have expert legal representation from the outset. Call us to discuss your defence.