Few things can be more stressful for an individual than to have the several police officers attend at their home address armed with warrants for the seizure of computers, tablets and mobile phone. The police will have obtained a warrant for the seizure of equipment believed to contain indecent, prohibited or extreme pornographic material. They will be gathering evidence in connection with making and/or possessing indecent images of children and the possession of extreme pornographic material.
Attendance at a property is without warning and may take place in front of family members and be witnessed by neighbours and in some case by work colleagues. In some circumstances the police carry out an arrest, although not always. A person is frequently left in limbo, released under investigation, awaiting the outcome of the analysis seized items – a process that can take between six and 12 months.
Do I need a solicitor at this stage?
At Olliers we regularly speak to clients who have had computer equipment and phones seized by the police. On the one hand it is a waiting game but there is still a lot that can be done.
We always ensure that we make early contact with the police. We will confirm the anticipated timeframe for the investigation with the police and obtain an assurance that any further contact will be through Olliers, ensuring that there is no embarrassment caused by a police visit to home or workplace.
We can discuss with our clients the circumstances that may have led to their material being seized. We will give our clients an opportunity to discuss any anxiety they may feel. Many want to discuss worst case scenarios and we can advise on the different offences of possessing, distributing and producing indecent images. We can also explain the different categories of offences as well as current sentencing guidelines.
We can also attend a voluntary interview with our client if this has not already taken place.
How can Olliers help me?
Olliers can assist with mitigating features, which can include;
- previous good character and/or exemplary conduct
- age and/or lack of maturity
- mental disorder or learning disability
- evidence of steps taken to address offending or seek help
If a client recognises that they may need help we can point them in the direction of organisations that can help at a very early stage. If a client is charged and is ultimately advised to plead guilty, evidence of any early help sought can be powerful mitigation.
Is it possible to avoid being charged?
In some circumstances, images may be of low level category and we may look to argue that a prosecution is not in the public interest. This may be particularly relevant to a case where a client may have sought help for a problem and where there is other, powerful mitigation. The best time to do this is before charge but it can also be done after charge. Click here to read more.
If you have had computer equipment seized and are under investigation for images offence, there is no public funding available, except for a police interview under caution. However it is a crucial period where work undertaken can have a significant impact. Olliers are able to act for you on a privately funded basis, either on a hourly rate basis or an agreed fee basis. We aim to be as transparent as possible with our fees and provide regular updates on costs.
Contact our indecent images offences team
If you are under investigation for offences relating to indecent images please contact Ruth Peters by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 020 3883 6790 or 0161 8341515 and we can arrange a confidential discussion as to how Olliers can assist you at this time.
Client A had a successful career. However, during the space of a few months he lost his job and his wife left him taking his children. Client A began drinking heavily and started to visiting adult forums. Unfortunately, some of the forums he visited contained indecent images. He was visited by the police and devices were seized. Client A contacted Olliers. Instructions were taken and he was signposted to professionals for help with his behaviour. Olliers established and maintained contact with the police. Client A participated in coursework and sessions to address his behaviour. Following forensic analysis of the seized devices, Olliers made representations against prosecution. Client A was not prosecuted, instead he was given a conditional caution and he is now able to move forward with his life.
Client B was a single man who lived alone. Over time he developed an interest in online forums and received a number of indecent images. The police attended his home address and seized devices. Following police involvement, client B approached Olliers. He was signposted to a number of agencies and undertook significant steps to address his behaviour. In the meantime, Olliers maintained constant contact with the police. Upon examination of seized material, Category C images were discovered. Representations were made based upon the circumstances of the offending and the category of the images. It was argued that it was not in the public interest for Client B to be prosecuted. We were successful and a conditional caution was given.
Client C was a young man who had police attend at his home address and seize his electronic devices. He took initial advice from another firm that he should simply await the result of forensics analysis of his devices and no action was required at this stage. He became increasingly anxious and spent many weeks worrying about what was likely to happen. Eventually he contacted Olliers after learning about our pro-active approach. We immediately made contact with the police for an update and continued to liaise with the officer for the duration of the case. We worked with Client C and he gained assistance from external agencies following our recommendations. Ultimately we attended for a voluntary interview with Client C and subsequently a conditional caution was offered following our submissions to the prosecution.