Historic Sexual Offences Lawyers - Manchester
Specialist Historic Sex Offence Defence Solicitors
Historic sexual offence cases have been in the media frequently in recent years and, as awareness of the issue has grown, so have the number of cases prosecuted.
Emotive and complex, historic abuse cases are some of the most difficult cases for all involved. Due to the nature of the allegations and time that has passed, many cases are decided by the word of one person against another. Courts and juries must assess the arguments with very little or no corroboration or forensic evidence to support either side.
As with any sexual offence, historic offence allegations are taken extremely seriously. The process is often traumatic for a person accused of having committed these types of offences. We understand that being arrested is a harrowing experience and that such allegations alone can be life changing.
We know that many individuals accused of committing these types of offences are often of good character with no previous experience of the criminal courts. If you are facing allegations of a sexual nature, it is crucial that you seek advice from a legal firm with specialist knowledge in this area of law. It is vital that you have the very best legal team from the outset. You will need robust representation at the earliest opportunity.
Clifford Johnston & Co has over 35 years’ experience of advising and representing clients accused of historic sexual offences. We have an impressive record of not guilty verdicts in the Crown Court and will do what is necessary to defend you career, reputation, and liberty.
Our experienced Sexual Offence Solicitors know how to persuade juries that a complainant may not be a genuine victim and we know that many complaints are malicious. We will also seek to persuade the jury that your personal circumstances, your character, and reputation is simply incompatible with such allegations.
We understand how to best handle complex sexual offences cases and have the expertise to advise you throughout your case.
What are historic sexual offences?
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 came into force in 2004. This Act changed the law for most sexual offences. Historic sexual offences, however, are covered by the laws that were in existence at the time of the alleged offence. Most historic offences are, therefore, dealt with under the Sexual Offences Act 1956.
Our specialist solicitors have a strong understanding of both laws which is a significant advantage when dealing with historic sexual offences.
Sexual assault, rape and sexual offences against children are the most commonly prosecuted historical cases. For most cases, there is no statute of limitations in place. This means that it is possible for a complainant to bring a case no matter how long ago the incident is alleged to have occurred.
Historic sexual offences investigations
When an allegation is made, the police will start an investigation and they will take the claims very seriously. The length of time that has passed since the alleged incident will not dilute the seriousness with which it is treated.
Material evidence is generally extremely rare in historic cases and, therefore, an investigation will usually focus on identifying any corroborating evidence and witnesses.
If you are the subject of an investigation, you will most likely be interviewed by the police.
They will either arrest you or invite you to the police station to be interviewed on a voluntary basis. Your home may also be searched for evidence such a as electronic devices which will subsequently be interrogated and analysed.
You have the right to legal representation when being interviewed by the police. We strongly recommended that you are represented by a specialist historic offence solicitor whether you are under arrest or attend the police station voluntarily. Even if you have nothing to hide and are not guilty, it is very important that you are legally represented.
Instructing an experienced solicitor to provide legal representation from the outset will ensure that your rights are protected and that you do not inadvertently do or say anything that may jeopardise your defence.
Once the police investigation is concluded, the police will collate a file and pass it to the Crown Prosecution for a decision on charge. You will only be charged if there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of success and it is in the public interest to prosecute you.
Pro-active defence – Historic sexual offence allegations
There is much that can be done prior to the CPS making a decision as to whether you should be charged with any offences and taken to Court.
We take a proactive stance whereas many other firms simply wait and see what happens. The latter is rarely good advice. We often collate defence bundles of evidence and serve it upon the police to cast doubt on the veracity of the allegations and, in some cases, to prove that they are malicious and false.
Defence evidence may include CCTV enquiries, medical evidence, text messages, witness statements and social media activity. We can also provide timelines and chronologies to assist the police to come to the right decision in your favour.
How to defend an allegation of historic sexual abuse?
Allegations of historic sexual abuse are often complex, with the passage of time making it very difficult for parties to accurately recall pertinent events.
We will forensically analyse the prosecution evidence and highlight any inconsistencies and contradictions. We will also spend whatever time is needed in obtaining your instructions and drafting defence and witness statements. In some cases, it may be necessary to instruct experts to analyse and interrogate electronic devisee and trawl through social media activity of the complainant and prosecution witnesses.
Our specialist historic sexual offence lawyers are experts at preparing thorough defence statements and we will meticulously examine all the available evidence to build the strongest possible case.
A defence statement is a document that a defendant is obliged to serve subsequent to entering a not guilty plea. It includes:
- any areas of dispute with the Prosecution;
- the defence case i.e. the defendant’s version of events
- any contentious points of law, for example the admissibility of evidence;
- details of any witnesses who intend to support the defendant.
A thorough defence statement is often vital in historic abuse cases. Sometimes a detailed defence statemen can be enough for the prosecution to review their case and decide to offer no evidence against a defendant.
Due to the length of time that elapses between the date of the alleged offence and the allegations being made, it is unusual for there to be any physical evidence to support the case. As a result, most of the evidence tends to rest on witness statements and disclosure from third parties, such as social services; medical records and/or educational records.
We will robustly defend you against any unfounded allegations and we will examine all the evidence meticulously. We will work with you to challenge the credibility and reliability of the evidence presented on behalf of the prosecution and we will work with you at every stage of the process. We will explore every relevant aspect of your case, identifying and addressing any weak points or areas of concern.
We know that many, when faced with such an allegation, may decide to accept the allegation, and plead guilty. We will advise you on the strength of the evidence, Court procedure, the credit you would obtain for entering a guilty pela and advise you in respect of the likely sentence. We will always be non-judgemental and represent you to a very high standard.
Contact our defence team today for frank and professional advice on the options available to you.
What are the penalties for historic sexual offences?
The penalties for the above type of offences will be based on the relevant laws in force at the time the offence was committed.
Any offence committed after 2004 will be dealt with under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which is much more severe than earlier legislation.
Lengthy sentences of imprisonment are often imposed for the most serious offences and offenders may be placed on the sex offenders register, making it necessary to keep the police updated as to their whereabouts, financial details and any overseas travel.
Under the Sexual Offence Act 1956, the maximum sentences for some offences are listed below:
Rape – life imprisonment
Indecency assault on a male – 10 years’ imprisonment
Indecent assault on a female – 10 years’ imprisonment
Indecency with a chid – 10 years imprisonment
Other factors that may impact upon sentencing include:
- the nature of the offence;
- the age of the victim;
- the age of the defendant at the time of the offence;
- the period over which the offences took place;
- the health of the defendant at the time of sentencing;
- whether the defendant was in a position of trust at the time of the offence;
- any previous convictions;
- the character of the defendant;
- the impact on the victim.
How can Clifford Johnston & Co help?
At Clifford Johnston & Co, we have a team of experts with a wealth of experience in this complex area of the law. We will do everything in our power to ensure the best possible outcome when faced with a historical sexual abuse allegation.
The earlier you contact us, the more support we can offer. We can:
- offer you support and representation if you are interviewed by the police;
- draft and submit written representations pre charge;
- applications for bail;
- representation at Court throughout your case;
- advice on the strength of the evidence, your plea and the sentencing guidelines;
- prepare your case for trial;
- prepare mitigation
- contact and draft defence witness statements;
- advise you about the appeals process if necessary.
Contact us today if you, or someone you know, faces an allegation of historic sexual abuse. We will listen without judgement and give you a clear appraisal of the situation.
Jared McNally – Specialist Sexual Offences Lawyer
Jared is a Partner of the firm and head of our criminal and professional discipline team. He has a wealth of experience in this area and is often instructed by professionals and high net worth individuals across the UK. In 2020, Jared was listed a leading lawyer in the Doyle’s Guide.
Contact our Expert Historic Sexual Abuse Defence Solicitors Now
Clifford Johnston & Co has a team of experienced historic sex offence defence lawyers. We understand the emotional toll that this will take on you and will work proactively for you at each stage to make sure that you understand the process and what options are available to you.
We are proud to offer expert legal services nationally which is affordable and cost-effective.
By choosing to work with us you will have an exceptional team fighting your corner.
Talk to Clifford Johnston & Co. today.