Being investigated and charged with a sexual offence is extremely serious, both for you and your family, and you must contact expert criminal defence solicitors urgently. The lawyers at Qamar Solicitors are highly experienced in advising and representing clients suspected of a sexual offence.
Our solicitors take a sympathetic but robust approach in defending clients charged with sexual offences because we appreciate the potential impact a conviction will have on their lives. High profile historic sex abuse cases involving celebrities have been in the news over a prolonged period, illustrating how seriously sexual offences are treated by the public, the media, the police and the courts – whenever they occurred. The coverage also reveals how distressing it is for those wrongly accused and the families concerned.
Sexual offences range from rape and sexual assault, to sexual exposure and voyeurism. The main sexual offences are:
This means penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth by a man without consent. Rape is very serious and will be dealt with in the Crown Court. On conviction, a prison sentence of between 5 years and a life term may be imposed.
Assault by penetration
Sexual penetration of someone’s vagina or anus without consent. This is also a very serious offence and will be dealt with in the Crown Court. On conviction, a prison sentence of between 4 years and life may be imposed.
This occurs when someone meets or communicates with someone under the age of 16 and travels with the intention of carrying out a sexual offence. This can be dealt with either in the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court. On conviction in the Crown Court, a prison sentence of up to 10 years can be imposed.
Making, possessing or distributing indecent photographs of children. This includes digitally creating or altering an image to make it indecent. These offences may be tried in the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court. On conviction in the Crown Court of ‘possession’, a prison sentence of up to 5 years may be imposed. On conviction in the Crown Court of ‘taking, distributing, publishing or possession’, a prison sentence of up to 10 years may be imposed. The sentence imposed depends on the number of photos and the nature of the content.
Intentionally touching another person in a way that is sexual, without consent. An act is ‘sexual’ if the reasonable, average person would consider it to be sexual. Sexual assault can be dealt with either in the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court. On conviction in the Crown Court, a prison sentence of up to 10 years can be imposed.
Where the alleged victim did not consent to penetration or other sexual activity, an offence has been committed. The court can presume there was no consent at the relevant time in the case of rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault charges in the following circumstances:-
violence was used against the victim or another person
the victim was held captive
the victim was unconscious
the victim was physically disabled
the victim was under the influence of a substance that overpowered him/her
It will be for the defendant to satisfy the court that the victim did consent.
Children are deemed by the law not to be able to ‘consent’ to penetration if they are under 13 years of age. Individuals charged with rape of a child, or sexual assault by penetration, sexual assault, and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, cannot rely on the defence of consent.
There are also other offences of sexual activity involving children under 16 years. If you have been accused of a sexual offence involving a child under the age of 16 years, contact us urgently for advice and representation.
Consent is the primary defence to a rape, assault by penetration or sexual assault charge. The alleged victim must have voluntarily consented, and had the capacity to make that choice. It is also a defence if the defendant can satisfy the court that there was a reasonable belief that there was consent. The test is whether a normal, reasonable person would honestly belief consent existed.
If a defendant is charged with possessing indecent photos of children, it will be a defence if he/she had a legitimate reason for possessing them; had not seen them or had been sent unknowingly (but were deleted quickly).
The Sex Offenders Register
Individuals convicted of the above sexual offences are automatically placed on the Sex Offenders Register. They are kept on the Register for a specific length of time (sometimes indefinitely), depending on the length of the sentence imposed on conviction of an offence.
How can we help?
We take steps as early as possible in an investigation, examining the evidence against you to ensure you have the best possible defence to a charge of a sexual offence. Where a client is charged with an offence relating to indecent pictures of children, we will work with computer experts who have the skills to analysis digital systems and images to help your case.
The criminal defence lawyers at Qamar Solicitors are highly experienced in representing clients charged with sexual offences – however serious. Seek our help as early as possible for your best chances.