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 at the pre-charge stage
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
- Voice notes/recordings
- Video recorded evidence
- 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.
The team at Olliers has huge levels of experience of defending allegations of sexual offences. They can range from allegations of rape, sexual assaults, allegations that are historical in their nature, grooming offences, communications offences, offences involving allegations of indecent images. We frequently represent professionals, individuals involved in education, the medical profession, the care sector, we may act for people who are alleged to have committed offences during a relationship, we frequently act for young persons who are facing allegations. A number of our specialists deal with allegations involved in trafficking and prostitution. We also have specialists who deal with applications to vary or discharge Sexual Offence Prevention Orders and Sexual Harm Prevention Orders.
Following an interview at a police station there’s an awful lot that can be done on behalf of someone who’s facing an allegation of any kind of sexual offence. The first thing to do is to consider what material can be obtained that may undermine or contradict the allegations that were put to our client during an interview. It’s at that point that we would look to instigate pre-charge engagement with an investigating officer and that is with a view to making representations against charge arguing the charging standard that governs the decision to charge is not met because either there is not a realistic prospect of a conviction or that a prosecution is not in the public interest. The kind of material that the defence would obtain on behalf of the client would vary from case to case, not only the allegation but the facts of the case, but it may include messaging between parties whether that be text messaging, electronic messaging of other kind, it may involve social media activity, we may look at banking and financial transactions, there may be um CCTV material that’s relevant, there may be witnesses that can be spoken to, there could be third party material, there could be material in other proceedings that’s relevant to an offence. So there’s a whole host of material that can be obtained and investigated in relation to any kind of sexual allegation. The message at Olliers is if there’s anything that you think is relevant to your defence, then you tell us and then we will decide whether that should be put to the police during the course of pre-charge engagements or whether it should form part of representations against charge
A historic sexual offence is a term that’s used to describe an allegation that happened some considerable time ago and in many cases decades ago. These may be allegations of rape or sexual assaults, maybe allegations involving children and one complicating factor is they may be allegations governed by legislation that’s no longer in force. The key feature if you’re facing an allegation of historic sexual offences is to make contact with a specialist lawyer at the earliest possible opportunity so that you can be provided with the advice and support whether that be during the investigation stage or if you are already being prosecuted.
The decision to prosecute is made in accordance with the charging standard which is contained within the code for crown prosecutors and under the charging standard for prosecution to take place there must firstly be a realistic prospect of a conviction and secondly a prosecution must be in the public interest. It’s the role of the defence during the pre-charge stage of the case to firstly become actively involved in pre-charge engagement with the police and secondly at the conclusion of that process to prepare and submit effective representations against charge arguing either that there is not a realistic prospect to the conviction or that the prosecution is not in the public interest.
Absolutely, if you face any allegation of a sexual offense then the Olliers team will represent you, we have a huge level of experience and we can ensure that the right person is allocated to the right client every single time.
Olliers’ specialist pre-charge lawyers
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.
Olliers’ specialist pre-charge team recently held a panel round table discussion discussing defending criminal allegations at the pre-charge stage. Olliers’ specialist lawyers canvassed different views in relation to charging decisions made by the prosecution, the police’s role in relation to the same, attitudes of the police/prosecution towards defence pre-charge engagement and whether such views have changed since the Attorney General’s Guidelines on Disclosure came into force.
Sexual offence prosecutions
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.
Historic sexual allegations
Historic sexual allegations are any allegations of a sexual nature which happened some time ago. This can include allegations of rape, sexual assault or child sexual abuse. In some cases the allegations may be from decades ago and it can be extremely upsetting to be accused of such an offence.
If you have been accused of a historic sexual allegation it is vital you seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible. You may have concerns about the potential impact on your reputation and be unfamiliar with the criminal justice process itself. Olliers specialise in defending individuals in relation to allegations of a sexual nature and can advise and support you throughout every stage of the investigation.
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 our new enquiry team on 0161 834 1515 , email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the web enquiry form 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 2023. Our Managing Director Matthew Claughton is the 2023 Legal 500 Northern Powerhouse Crime Lawyer of the Year. We are the Manchester Legal Awards Small Firm of the Year 2022. In 2021 we won Crime Team of the Year 2021 at the Manchester Legal Awards as well as Small Firm of the Year. We are ranked by both the authoritative tides to the procession, namely the Legal 500 2024 and the Chambers Guide 2024. We are a Times Best Law Firm 2024.