We advise in in relation to applications for removal from the Sex Offenders Register and discharge from a Sexual Offences Prevention Order
Those that have been convicted of a sexual offence, as well as receiving direct punishment from the Court, will also be subject to any number of ancillary orders. These usually take the form of having to sign on the sex offenders register (notification requirements) and being made subject to Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) or a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).
The length of the order will usually mirror the length of the notification requirements. The length of the notification is set by statute and is dependent upon the length of sentence or type of disposal. A disposal by way of community order will attract a notification period for 5 years whereas a sentence of in excess of 30 months will mean an indefinite notification, although this can be reviewed after 15 years.
After 15 years an application can be made to the Chief Constable of the area that monitors the offender and the test to be applied is, is continued notification necessary to protect the public from sexual harm? Usually after 15 years, provided there has been no sexual offending in the interim, the Chief Constable will remove the requirements to notify.
I have breached the order – does that matter?
It is worth noting that if there have been minor breaches in this period this would not normally have an adverse effect on the decision. There is also a right of appeal to the local Magistrates’ Court.
The courts don’t view these orders as punishment but rather as managing risk once the punitive part of the sentence has expired, usually a prison term. However for offenders looking to rehabilitate it is viewed as a punishment.
Further ex-offenders will often go to some lengths to hide their conviction and restrictions imposed by these orders which can impact upon their employment and ability to forge new relationships. Common questions include do I need to tell my partner matters for which I was found not guilty of and do I have to register a device that I only use at work?
Also as technology advances many older orders are now not simply fit for purpose. When these orders were first imposed it banned the use of the internet entirely. These were the days before the internet became integral to our daily lives. Also phones now have built in cameras and this technology was not envisaged when the orders were drawn up.
If you are subject to any of these restrictions and require advice on the following areas please contact Olliers as we have many years experience in this area and have helped numerous ex-offenders.
How can Olliers help me?
We can help with the following areas:
- Where there are differing lengths of the SOPO/SHPO to the notification period. This can have the consequence of being subject to notification longer than the Court ordered. In this instance the SOPO/SHPO can be discharged. The 2011 Court of Appeal case of R v Smith gives guidance on this.
- Where the period of notification has been extended retrospectively as a result of the 2004 case of R v Wiles.
- Where the restrictions imposed by the SOPO/SHPO are having an adverse effect upon your family, step children or employment and an application to vary the order is needed.
- Where you have been subject to the notification requirements for in excess of 15 years.
- Where there are difficulties in your relationship with your offender manager, social services or the use of polygraph tests.
- Where you believe you have been wrongly convicted or sentenced excessively and require advice on appeal.
Specialist SOPO/SHPO/notification requirements solicitors
Please contact Ruth Peters for a confidential discussion.