Hudson Marshall Solicitors

SEXUAL OFFENCE

This area of law is unique and complex. What follows is a brief summary of the law. While it is not, and should not be relied upon as legal advice, it may assist you with some of the questions you might have. As always, consult a criminal lawyer should you need criminal advice.

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sexual offence solicitors London, UK

Are you facing sexual offence charges and looking for an experienced criminal defence solicitor in London?

Sexual offence allegations can have devastating consequences for your reputation, your career and your liberty. That is why contacting us for advice as early as possible is critical. This can extend to the point that you feel an allegation might imminently be made against you. We specialise in making representations to the Police to avoid you being charged and need to go to court in the first place.

We also have extensive experience helping individuals defend themselves successfully against sexual offence charges. We are able to identify key weaknesses in a prosecution case so that even if you have already been charged, we can request that the Crown Prosecution Service review a case with a view to it being stopped before trial.

Our experienced solicitors will walk you through every step of the process and ensure you get the best possible representation for your defence. So, if you have been accused of any sexual offence, we are the go-to lawyers in London for expert legal advice and representation.

Call us today to schedule an appointment for comprehensive defence services

What Are Sexual Offences?

Many crimes are considered offences of a sexual nature (sexual offences). These include:

  • Non-consensual crimes such as rape, sexual assault, and assault by penetration.
  • Crimes against children, such as child sexual abuse or grooming.
  • Crimes that exploit others for a sexual purpose, whether in person or online.

These offences are defined in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (SOA). For the prosecution to charge you with any of these offences, they must prove that each ‘element’ of the offence was present at the time of the alleged incident.

We hope the content of this page serves as a helpful explainer. However, it is not intended to be standalone legal advice. The legal concepts associated with these offences are complex. If you or someone you know is facing action following an alleged sexual offence, we urge you to contact us at 0800 368 9939, and we will arrange a consultation.

Rape

Rape occurs when a person uses their penis without consent to penetrate another person’s vagina, mouth, or anus.

Sexual Assault

A sexual assault occurs when one person intentionally touches another person sexually without that person’s consent. The offending touch can be done with an object or any part of the offender’s body.

Assault By Penetration

An assault by penetration occurs when a person intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person with any part of their body, or with an object, without the other person’s consent. The penetration has to be of a sexual nature

Causing a Person To Engage In Sexual Activity Without Consent

This offence occurs when a person (A) intentionally causes another person (B) to engage in sexual activity such that B does not consent to the activity and A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

Capacity

Prosecutors will say that the complainant lacked capacity where:

  • Consent can be given for one sexual activity but not another (i.e., A consents to vaginal penetration but not to anal penetration).
  • The complainant suffers from a medical condition which limits their ability to consent or communicate their consent.
  • The complainant suffers from a relevant mental health problem or has learning difficulties.
  • The complainant was asleep or unconscious.

How Are Sexual Offences Sentenced?

This section explains the potential sentences for those found guilty of the following offences:

  • Rape
  • Sexual Assault

Rape: Sentencing Guidelines

Like other offences, the judge must consider the intersection of the harm that the offender has caused and how culpable the offender was based on their conduct. This harm/ culpability intersection provides the offence’s ‘starting point’ and ‘category range’.

Harm is split into three categories, ranging from 1 – 3, with 1 being the worst. Category 2 harm refers to a rape case where some of the following are present in the facts:

  • Severe psychological or physical harm
  • Pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection as a consequence
  • Additional degradation or humiliation
  • Abduction
  • Prolonged detention or sustained incident
  • Violence or threats of violence beyond that which is inherent in the offence
  • Forced or uninvited entry into the victim’s home
  • Victim is particularly vulnerable due to personal circumstances

Category 1 refers to a rape case that has extreme versions of the Category 2 factors or a combination of Category 2 factors.

Culpability is split into two categories, A and B. A denotes higher seriousness, deserving of a higher sentence.

Culpability A refers to a rape case where some of the following factors are present:

  • A significant degree of planning
  • Offender acts together with others to commit the offence
  • Use of alcohol/drugs on the victim to facilitate the offence
  • Abuse of trust
  • Previous violence against the victim
  • Offence committed in the course of a burglary
  • Recording of the offence
  • Commercial exploitation and motivation
  • Offence racially or religiously aggravated
  • Offence motivated by, or demonstrating, hostility to the victim based on their sexual orientation (or presumed sexual orientation) or transgender identity (or presumed transgender identity)
  • Offence motivated by, or demonstrating, hostility to the victim based on their disability (or presumed disability)

The actual sentence to be handed down depends on the following:

  • The presence (or absence) of statutory aggravating factors
  • Further aggravating factors not considered at the harm/culpability intersection.
  • Mitigating factors

Then, the presence of several events can cause the judge to reduce the sentence. These include:

  • The accused’s actual or offered assistance to the prosecution
  • A guilty plea

Therefore, whilst the facts of your case are critical to adequately advise on your sentence, the following are some general guidelines:

Category 1 Harm Culpability A rape: Starting point of 15 years custody, with a category range of 13 – 19 years.

Category 3 Harm Culpability B rape: Starting point of 5 years custody, with a category range of 4 – 7 years.

Sexual Assault: Sentencing Guidelines

Unlike rape, sexual assault is triable either way. This means a case can be heard in the Magistrates’ or Crown Court. In many circumstances, the accused’s ability to elect where their case is tried is limited. This is because the maximum sentence a Magistrates’ Court can impose is 12 months for more than one offence charged, or 6 months for a single offence. If the seriousness of the alleged offence – evaluated by its category – requires a sentence that exceeds that, the Magistrates’ Court would have insufficient sentencing powers relative to the offence complained of, and they would be compelled to send the case up to the Crown Court.

The harm/culpability intersection is used for this offence as well. Whilst this is still a serious offence, the category ranges provide more scope for offenders to be given community orders, starting at a medium level. The usual conditions that may reduce the sentence to be imposed are the (offered) provision of assistance to the prosecution, early guilty plea, and (qualifying) time spent on tagged curfew.

We will need to understand your entire case by speaking with you to advise correctly. If you have been accused, charged, or sentenced for a sexual assault offence, talk to us in confidence today.

Historic Allegations

Some of our work focuses on allegations over events from long ago. The law imposes no time limit for reporting an alleged offence from many years ago.

The fact that these alleged offences happened so long ago exacerbates the difficulty of reliable testimonies and defence statements. Historic allegations are a more critical reason to instruct our team of skilled solicitors and advocates.

What Is The Sex Offenders Register?

Contrary to widespread belief, there is no authorised central register of sex offenders in England and Wales. There is a notification system where offenders must register their details with the police after being cautioned, convicted, or released from prison for a sexual offence.

These offences include everything discussed in this blog, as well as several offences provided in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, including:

  • Voyeurism
  • Possessing Indecent Images

How Becoming Subject To Notification Requirements Works

After being cautioned, convicted, or released from prison for a sexual offence, there is a mandatory requirement for the person to notify the police of the following details:

  • Any changes to contact details already registered.
  • The addresses the offender has stayed at for more than seven days.
  • Any intended travelling seven days before departure
  • Anywhere they have remained absent for at least 12 hours at a household or a private place where a person under 18 has been present
  • Their passport, credit card, bank account details and national insurance number.

How Long Does a Person Remain On The Register?

That depends on the sentence that the offender was given:

  • Simple (Police) Caution à 2 Years
  • Community Order or Fine à 5 Years
  • 6-month sentence or less à 7 Years
  • Sentence Ranging 6 – 30 months à 10 Years
  • Sentence Ranging 30 Months to Life à Indefinite Registration

Offenders subject to indefinite registration can apply for de-registration after being subject to it for 15 years.

CONTACT HUDSON MARSHALL SOLICITORS TODAY

If you are being investigated for or have been charged with engaging in any sexual offence and are looking for a robust defence solicitor in London for legal advice or representation, Hudson Marshall Solicitors can help. Our solicitors and advocates have extensive experience in a broad range of sexual offence-related issues.

As one of the leading defence specialists in the UK, we strive to provide our valued clients with clear, concise, and professional advice, no matter how complex the case. Our highly experienced team of solicitors commit themselves to achieving the best result possible for those whose causes we take on. We are on your side.

We offer our defence services to clients throughout England and Wales. Therefore, when facing serious criminal allegations, trust Hudson Marshall Solicitors to be the first line of your defence

Contact our compassionate, plain-speaking, proactive team today at 0800 368 9939 to schedule a consultation.

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