Rape & Sexual Offences

A sexual offence can be any of the following:

  • Rape
  • Assault by penetration
  • Sexual Assault
  • Historical Abuse Cases
  • Causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent
  • Engaging in sexual activity with a child /Engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child
  • Intercourse with a girl under 13 years
  • Incest with a girl under 13 years
  • Downloading indecent images, Chat Room & Social Networking Crime
  • Sexual Activity with a person with a mental disorder impeding choice
  • Sexual Allegations in Divorce
  • Buggery with a person under 16 years
  • Indecent Assault which constitutes an act of Gross Indecency
  • Sexual Grooming
  • Sexual Harassment at Work
  • Exposure
  • Voyeurism
  • Possession/making or distributing (pseudo) indecent photographs or images
  • Trafficking Offences

Below you can read more about the most serious sexual offences along with what Sections of the Act are and “Working on a Rape or Sexual offence case”.

RAPE - SECTION 1 OF THE SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT 2003

Rape is a very serious offence, which can only be dealt with in the crown court (known as indictable). The offence can only be committed by a man on a woman or another man.

Rape is defined as follows:

  1. A person (‘A’) commits an offence if –
    (a) He intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (‘B’) with his penis, (b) B does not consent to the penetration, and
    (c) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
  2. Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents.
  3. Sections 75 and 76 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 apply.

Upon conviction, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

So, rape is restricted to penile penetration of the mouth, vagina (including the vulva) or anus and remains one of the few crimes that only a male can commit. That said both men and women can face proceedings for:

  • Aiding and abetting the offence of rape.
  • Assault by penetration; Section 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
  • Sexual assault; Section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
  • Causing a person to engage in sexual activity; Section 4 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
  • Sections 5 to 8 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 create separate offences of rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault and causing a person to engage in sexual activity where the complainant is a child under the age of 13.

Defences to rape under Section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act often arise from (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Mistaken identity.
  • The alleged incident did not take place.
  • The specific act of penetration did not occur.
  • Penetration did occur, but by accident (i.e. without intent).
  • Penetration did occur, but with the complainant’s consent throughout.
  • Penetration did occur, without the complainant’s consent.
  • However, the accused did not know that the complainant did not consent.
  • The accused’s belief that the complainant was consenting was reasonable.
  • Penetration did occur, initially with the complainant’s consent but the consent was subsequently retracted.
  • The accused did not know that consent had been retracted. He could not have reasonably known or be expected to have known that consent had been retracted.

SEXUAL ASSAULT - SECTION 3 OF THE SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT 2003

Sexual assault can be dealt with in either the magistrates or crown court. The offence is defined as follows:

  1. A person (‘A’) commits an offence if –
    (a) he intentionally touches another person (‘B’), (b) the touching was sexual,
    (c) B does not consent to the touching, and
    (d) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
  2. Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents.
  3. Sections 75 and 76 of the Sexual Offences Act apply.

Upon conviction, the maximum sentence is 10 years’ imprisonment.

Sexual assault embodies a wide breadth of sexual acts carried out on a non-consenting participant. The definition is set in deliberately broad terms, which includes:

Mere touching which can even amount to an offence if the touching was of clothing worn by the complainant. Pinching, Slapping, Kissing and touching naked genitalia. Using naked organs to stroke, rub, press or touch.

The above list is not exhaustive.

Defences to sexual assault under Section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 often include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Mistaken identity.
  • The alleged incident did not take place.
  • The specific act of touching did not occur.
  • The act of touching did occur, but was not sexual.
  • The act of touching did occur, but by accident (i.e. without intent).
  • The act of touching did occur, but with the complainant’s consent.
  • The act of touching did occur and the complainant did not consent / withdrew their consent at some stage. However, the accused reasonably believed that the complainant was consenting.

ADULTS GROOMING CHILDREN - SECTION 15 OF THE SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT 2003

Meeting a child following sexual grooming can be dealt with in either the magistrates or crown court. The offence is defined as follows:

(1) A person aged 18 or over (‘A’) commits an offence if –
(a) Having met or communicated with another person (‘B’) on at least two earlier occasions, he –
(i) Intentionally meets B, or
(ii) Travels with the intention of meeting B in any part of the world, (b) at the time, he intends to do anything to or in respect of B, during or after meeting and in any part of the world, which if done will involve the commission by A of a relevant offence,
(c) B is under 16,
(d) A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over.

Upon conviction, the maximum sentence is 10 years’ imprisonment.

The offence includes meeting or otherwise communicating with a person under 16. The communication is not limited to online contact. There is no requirement that the messages are sexual in nature. They may well be innocuous. The aim of the offence is to penalize persons who use relationships to break down the inhibitions of those under 16 before arranging a meeting with the intention of sexually offending.

Defences to ‘grooming’ under Section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 often include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Mistaken identity.
  • The alleged meeting or communication did not take place.
  • The alleged travel did not take place.
  • There was no intention to commit a relevant offence.
  • The accused reasonably believes that the complainant is 16 or over.

CHILD PORNOGRAPHY / INDECENT IMAGES OF CHILDREN - SECTION 1 OF THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN ACT 1978

SECTION 160 OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1988

Section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978 provides:

(1) It is an offence for a person –
(a) to take, or permit to be taken or to make, any indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child; or
(b) to distribute or show such indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs; or
(c) to have in his possession such indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs, with a view to their being distributed or shown by himself or others; or
(d) to publish or cause to be published any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that the advertiser distributes or shows such indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs, or intends to do so.

An allegation under this section can be dealt with in the magistrates or crown court. Upon conviction, the maximum sentence is 10 years imprisonment (offences committed on/after 11/01/01).

SECTION 160 OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1988 PROVIDES:

(1) It is an offence for a person to have any indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child in his possession.
(2) Where a person is charged with an offence under subsection (1) above, it shall be a defence for him to prove –
(a) That he had a legitimate reason for having the photograph or pseudo-photograph in his possession; or
(b) That he had not himself seen the photograph or pseudo-photograph and did not know, not had any cause to suspect, it to be indecent; or
(c) That the photograph or pseudo-photograph was sent to him without any prior request made by him or on his behalf and that he did not keep it for an unreasonable time.

An allegation under this section can be dealt with in the magistrates or crown court. Upon conviction, the maximum sentence is 5 years imprisonment (offences committed on/after 11/01/01).

Pseudo-photographs are defined as ‘an image, whether made by computer graphics or otherwise, which appears to be a photograph’. These are treated the same as all actual photographs.

Known in the profession as the ‘Oliver Scale’, images are graded on the following basis:

  • Level one: Images of erotic posing, with no sexual activity.
  • Level two: Non-penetrative sexual activities between children, or solo masturbation by a child.
  • Level three: Non-penetrative sexual activity between adults and children.
  • Level four: Penetrative sexual activity involving a child or children, or both children and adults.
  • Level five: Sadism or involving the penetration of, or by, an animal.
  • Our experts have encountered all types of images, from those at level 1 in a small quantity, through to those at levels 4 and 5, in large quantities.

Often, images will have been created through:

  • Electronic tracings. Where the image is created through using electronic equipment such as a scanner and appropriate software that serves the purpose of ‘tracing’ a photograph.
  • Graphic filtering. This covers electronic conversions, or the editing of an image on Photoshop or similar programmes to make an image look like a cartoon for example.
  • Illegal file sharing, distribution and networking of images.
    Sharing in forums, chat rooms and Skype / webcam scenarios.

DEFENCES

There are often several avenues to explore in relation to possible defences or mitigating factors for being found in possession of indecent images. We can instruct a computer expert to critique the police / expert’s findings. Defences often include:

  • The computer / device in question was used by more than one person.
  • The images were not viewed and their presence was unknown.
  • Although viewed, the image(s) were sent via an unrequested email attachment and once discovered were not contained for an unreasonable time (e.g. found and deleted).
  • When searching for adult pornography a pop-up emerges. Such pop-up images can then be stored on the computer as a temporary Internet file.
  • Legitimate but strictly limited reason for possessing the images in question.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY

In general once found not guilty of an offence, you cannot be tried again for the same crime. However legislation has been enacted giving the court power to overturn a not guilty verdict and order a retrial for certain crimes. There are twelve sexual offences that can be retried and these include rape and assault by penetration. There must be new and compelling evidence and this might be when new technology reveals fresh DNA evidence.

SEX OFFENCES ACT

Part 1 of the Act makes new provision for sexual offences. Sections 1 to 4 cover the non-consensual offences of rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault and causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent.

Sections 5 to 8 deal with rape and other offences against children under 13. Consent is irrelevant to these offences (as under thirteen’s cannot consent).

Sections 9 to 15 set out a series of “child sex offences”, including causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, arranging or facilitating commission of a child sex offence and meeting a child following sexual grooming.

Sections 16 to 24 re-enact and amend the offence of “abuse of position of trust” under sections 3 and 4 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000.

Briefly a person aged 18 or over commits an offence if he engages in a range of sexual activities with a child and he is in a “position of trust.” The definition of “position of trust” is defined in sections 21 and 22. It applies to a wide range of settings for children and young people, for instance secure training centre’s and young offenders institutions, as well as educational institutions.

Sections 25 to 29 deal with familial child sex offences.

Sections 30 to 33 deal with offences against person with a mental disorder, and section 34 to 37 provide for offences in relation to “inducement, threat or deception” in order to procure sexual activity by a person with a mental disorder.

Sections 38 to 44 set out offences committed by care workers with a person under a mental disorder.

Section 45 to 51 deal with indecent photography of children (including those aged 16 or 17, paying for the sexual services of a child, controlling a child prostitute or a child involved in pornography.

Section 45 amends the Protection of Children Act 1978 and redefines a child a person under 18, rather than under 16 under the 1978 Act.

Sections 52 to 56 deal with offences relating to prostitution, and section 57 to 60 deal with the offence of trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation.

Sections 61 to 63 deal with “preparatory” offences, including administering a substance with intent, committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence and trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence.

Sections 64 and 65 deal with incest.

Sections 66 to 71 cover a range of sexual offences, exposure, voyeurism, intercourse with an animal, sexual penetration of a corpse and sexual activity in a public lavatory.

Sections 72 to 79 provide for sexual offences committed outside the United Kingdom.

Part of the Act deals with notification and registration requirements for sex offenders.

Section 80 to 92 re-enact with amendments, Part 1 of the Sex Offenders Act 1997, which established a requirement on sex offenders to notify certain personal details to the police.

Sections 80 to 81 set out the persons who are required to comply, and Schedule 3 of the Act sets out a list of offences under previous and present legislation where an offender will be required to notify.

In the most serious cases, a relevant offender will be subject to requirements for an indefinite period, i.e. the rest of his life. In less serious cases, the period is less. By way of example, where (after commencement of the Act) a person is cautioned for a relevant offence, the notification period is two years. Periods of notification are also less for a person under 18 (Section 82(2)).

Section 83 sets out the actual notification requirements. The information (contained in section 83(5) includes:

Date of birth, National Insurance Number, Name on the “relevant date ”Home address on the “relevant date” Name and address on the date that notification is given. Address of any other premises where he stays

Section 84 sets out the requirements on an offender to notify the police of any changes to notified details. Section 85 deals with periodic notification.

Section 86 provides a power for the Secretary of State to make regulations setting out notification requirements for relevant offenders who leave the UK and disclose their travel plans. Sections 87 and 88 provides for the method of notification.

Section 89 deals with young offenders and allows the court to direct a person with parental responsibility for the offender to comply with the notification requirements in place of the offender. Section 90 allows the court to vary, renew or discharge a parental direction.

Section 91 provides an offence of failing to give a notification. Section 93 gives effect to Schedule 4,which allowed the Secretary of State to remove the notification requirement from offenders convicted of buggery and indecency under the Sexual Offences Act 1956.

Sections 94 and 95 provide the power to enable the police to verify that the offender has notified the correct details o the police, and that he is not omitting any details. This verification involved cross checks with the following organisations: DWP Passport Office, Department of Transport (DVLA).

Section 96 re-enacts section 5B of the Sex Offenders Act 1997. This provides for notification to relevant authorities when an offender is released from prison or hospital.

Section 97 provides a power for the police to apply to the magistrates’ court for an order that an offender be made subject to notification requirements. Such a notification order might for example, be sought in respect of a UK citizen who has been convicted of a sexual offence abroad, but is then deported back to the UK.

WORKING ON A RAPE OR SEXUAL OFFENCE CASE

In additional to “How we work on a case” we work with a few very select law firms who specialise in Rape or Sexual Offence cases. The selection of such firms is based upon years of experience of working within criminal law and in building up strong working relationships with those who are dedicated to achieving the best result for their clients.

It’s almost always the case that privately funded criminal solicitors and barristers have better success rates in defending clients against serious Sexual charges rather than those choosing to have legal aid.

When appealing a conviction “Direct Access” is now an acceptable means due to recent changes in UK law whereby in particular circumstances you can now instruct a Barrister or Queens Counsel (if they have the qualifications to undertake Direct Access) without the need to go through a solicitor therefore you can save yourself thousands of pounds.

The firms, which we personally select to work with, have a proven track record of success in representing the accused, who face serious and complex Sexual charges. We are extremely skilled in conducting a wide range of defence enquires at any stage of an investigation or during court proceedings. We have extensive experience in carrying out surveillance and this expertise enables us to trace and contact potential witnesses for the defence with ease.

Our skill set combined with our associate law firms’, and the instruction of expert counsel, enables us to create the most effective legal defence team, tailored to meet the needs of an individual client and consequently achieve optimum results.

Over the last six years we have increasingly dealt with numerous false allegations and wrongful conviction charges of Rape and other Sexual Offences. Our team have unrivalled experience in all aspects of investigation relating to these offences and we have an extremely high success rate in defending these highly complex and serious charges.

USEFUL INFORMATION

Privacy settings

This website stores cookies on your computer. These cookies are used to improve our website and provide more personalized services to you, both on this website and through other media. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our Cookie Policy.

Save and close