Leading defence solicitors – sexual offences – London & Manchester
Olliers has substantial experience in defending sexual allegations ranging from rape to sexual assault, allegations of historical abuse, grooming offences and cases involving indecent images and sexual communication with children. We frequently represent professionals such as those involved in education, the medical profession, care workers as well as acting in cases of alleged marital or so called date rape. A number of our lawyers advise in trafficking cases and those involving prostitution. We have specialists who assist with applications to vary or discharge Sexual Offences Prevention Orders and Sexual Harm Prevention Orders.
We have an excellent track record in terms of Crown Court acquittals. We are frequently instructed during the investigation (pre charge) stage of a case at which point we will consider what proactive steps can be taken to avoid charges being brought.
Individuals facing allegations of a sexual nature are often of impeccable character, with no previous experience of the criminal justice system. Being arrested for the first time is a harrowing experience made worse when the allegation is a sexual one. Reputations, relationships and careers are on the line.
Pro-active defence – sexual offence allegations
It is essential to seek expert legal advice immediately, because much can be done pre-charge. We will always look to establish early pre-charge engagement with investigators, and break down all elements of the case against our client.
This may involve drawing their attention to material that supports the defence case, including:
- Text messages, emails and other forms of electronic communication
- Social media activity
- CCTV enquires
- Internet and other research
- Relevant medical evidence
- Timelines and chronologies supportive of the defence
- Tracking down and taking accounts from witnesses who will support the defence case and subsequently invite the police to speak to these individuals.
On occasions we may draw to the attention of investigators information that sheds light on why a complaint has been made.
Matthew Claughton has considerable experience of dealing with cases at the investigation stage and his proactive approach is often effective in persuading the police not to charge as discussed here Sexual Offences – why this lawyer recommends proactive defence.
If a client has been charged, we continue to challenge the prosecution, where necessary reminding them of their ongoing duty to consider the strength of their case. They must keep under review the issue of whether there remains a realistic prospect of a conviction. As a case develops it may become weaker and it may be possible for us to draw to the Crown’s attention shortcomings in their case thereby bringing the prosecution to an end prior to trial. This is a delicate area but something that we will always consider.
We regularly speak to clients who have had electronic devices seized by the police and are under investigation in relation to indecent image offences. 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. 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. In some circumstances, images may be of low level category and we may seek to argue that a prosecution is not in the public interest particularly where a client has sought help for a problem and where there is other, powerful mitigation. Click here to read more about investigations in indecent image cases.
Sexual Communication with a child
A new offence of engaging in communication with a child under the age of 16 for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification came into force in April 2017.The communication must be sexual or intended to encourage a child to make a sexual communication.
Cut and dried exchanges of sexual texts, emails or conversations in chat rooms between adult and child, if the age of the child is clear, will almost certainly be deemed criminal and, if exposed or complained of, result in charge.
It is becoming increasingly common for individuals or groups of individuals who are members of the public to use on-line activity to uncover or “catch” alleged paedophiles involved in on-line child sexual abuse or interested in meeting children for the purpose of such abuse.
Specialist rape and sexual offence solicitors
If you are facing an allegation involving any kind of sexual offence please contact Ruth Peters on 0161 834 1515 or contact any of the team below.
We have offices in both London and Manchester and our representation is nationwide. We are the Manchester Legal Awards Crime Team of the Year 2021 and the Manchester Legal Awards Small Firm of the Year 2021. We are ranked as a Top Tier criminal firm in the 2021 editions of both the Legal 500 and the Chambers Directory.