Defending allegations of sexual offences
We understand that facing an allegation of a sexual offence has a devastating impact on you, your wider family, your reputation and potentially your livelihood. We have an experienced team of sexual offence solicitors with a proven track record for successfully defending all types of sex offences, including rape, indecent assault, possession of indecent images, historic sexual abuse and revenge porn cases (for more information on individual services, see our sexual offence services).
We can also advise on issues relating to Sexual Offences Prevention Orders (SOPOs), Sexual Risk Orders (SROs), Sexual Harm Prevention Orders (SHPOs) and other matters relating to the Sex Offenders Register.
Our sexual offence solicitors will tenaciously fight your corner. They will act for you with discretion and in the strictest of confidence. If for example we are contacted by members of your family, the complainants, your employer or the press, we won’t and indeed can’t, disclose anything about your case, unless of course, you ask us to. You can, therefore, talk to us in the strictest confidence.
What constitutes a sexual offence?
The term sexual offence covers a variety of specific offences including rape, sexual assault, offences against children and the possession and distribution of indecent images. The police should always be very specific about which type of sexual offence you are being accused of.
What is the Sexual Offences Act?
Most sexual offences are defined in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which came into force on 1st May 2004. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 consolidated previous legislation to update and strengthen the law.
What are the main types of sexual offences?
- Rape – It is an offence for a male to penetrate with his penis a male or female in the vagina, anus or mouth without their consent. Rape carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
- Assault by Penetration – it is an offence to penetrate the vagina or anus of another person without their consent, using a part of the body or anything else, for sexual intent.
- Sexual Assault – It is an offence to intentionally touch another person sexually, without their consent. Sexual assault carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
- Causing sexual activity without consent – It is an offence to cause or encourage another to engage in sexual activity without their consent.
Defending allegations of sexual offences in the police station
A knock at the door by the police or a telephone call to invite you to attend the police station for a chat is often the way an investigation into an allegation of a sexual offence is initiated. We have a dedicated team of specialist sexual offence solicitors who are experienced in robustly defending sex allegations from the outset of the allegations being made against you.
It is highly advisable to be legally represented at the police station, by experienced sexual offence solicitors, with expertise in defending these types of allegations. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you are innocent and have nothing to hide that you do not need legal representation, or that requesting legal representation will significantly delay your time in the police station.
Being properly advised from the outset of a criminal investigation for sexual offences, by a specialist sexual offence solicitor, can make a crucial difference to whether an investigation results in a court case or if a criminal charge can be avoided altogether.
Crown Court Trials for Sexual Offences
Our detailed preparation is the key to our success when defending sex offences. Our sexual offence solicitors will spend time with you, taking your detailed instructions, to gain a thorough understanding of the background circumstances.
We will conduct a comprehensive analysis of the complainant’s account, identifying weaknesses and inconsistencies, such as differences in the account the complainant has given to different people.
When defending allegations of sexual offences, the choice of an advocate is particularly critical. In a trial, the cross-examination of the complainant is key to a successful outcome. Our in-house sex offence lawyers have a proven track record for their expertise in their successful cross-examination of complainants. We also have priority access to and regularly work alongside, some of the best defence barristers, including the country’s top QCs.
Our advocates will work hard to bolster your credibility before the jury, to demonstrate that your evidence is reliable, as part of our vigorous defence strategy.
Bail in cases of sex offences
Our sexual offences solicitors will wherever possible make applications to ensure that you are on bail whilst you are waiting for your trial.
Where necessary, if for example the CPS do not want you to live with any children whilst you are on bail, we will work alongside our expert family lawyers, to ensure that the impact of any bail conditions has the minimal possible impact on your family.
What does consent mean in sex offences?
Consent is an agreement to any sexual experience. To successfully defend an allegation of sexual offences based on consent, it is necessary to show that the accused reasonably believed that the other party genuinely consented.There are some specific sex offences where consent cannot in law be a defence, for
There are some specific sex offences where consent cannot in law be a defence, for example, allegations of sexual offences involving children. However, where the allegations relate to adults, consent is a common issue.
Publicity surrounding sexual offences
Cases involving allegations of sexual offences sometimes attract a significant degree of publicity. We will support you through the whole process, dealing sensitively with the issues as they arise.
Fitness to plead or to stand trial in cases of sexual offences
In some cases, defendants may be in their later years and may be suffering from significant physical or mental health issues, which may affect their ability to stand trial. This can increase the frustration for the family who are desperate to support an accused person.
Where necessary, we have access to psychiatrists who specialise in assessments, who can assist in defending your case. If you are a family member of someone facing allegations of sexual offences, please contact us for a discussion on how we can help.
Allegations of sex offences made against professionals
The stress felt by those facing allegations of sex offences can be compounded for professionals, who must also manage the impact of the allegations on their career and livelihood. When defending regulated professionals, our criminal defence solicitors can work in conjunction with our regulatory solicitors, to assist clients with the management of the process with their employer and regulator.
We firmly believe that access to a specialist sexual offence solicitor from the outset is crucial in defending allegations of sexual offences. We have a team of specialist sex offence lawyers, who adopt a focussed approach to the preparation of cases. They exercise attention to detail, enabling them to robustly prepare your defence and tenaciously fight your corner.
If you, or someone you care about, is being accused of a sexual offence, please contact us for legal advice and a confidential discussion about how we can help.