Being investigated or charged with a sexual offence is highly stressful, and can cause great damage to a suspect’s reputation, career and family, irrespective of outcome.
Hickman & Rose’s expert lawyers understand how painful and difficult the process of investigation and trial can be. There are many things that we can do to reduce the stress.
Our Serious and General Crime team has an excellent track record at limiting the collateral damage caused by such investigations. Many of our most high profile clients never suffer a word of publicity. A significant proportion of our clients see the case end before it reaches the door of the court.
The majority of sexual offences are now contained within the Sexual Offences Act 2003. These include non-consensual crimes such as rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault, crimes against children including child sexual abuse or grooming, pornography and crimes that exploit others for a sexual purpose, such as voyeurism.
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 came into force on 1 May 2004 and applies to all offences committed on or after that date. It introduced offences which had not previously been punishable due to limitation periods, or not covered by other laws at all.
For offence committed before 1 May 2004, the old law, largely contained in the consolidating provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 still applies. The older law is complex, with definitions such as ‘child’, ‘rape’ and ‘consent’ having being amended and legal presumptions as to legal capacity having being abolished over time. Very careful consideration needs to be given to the date the offence is said to have taken place and our exceptional lawyers often identify legal issues that have been missed by police, prosecutors and the courts.
Some of the most complex cases to fight are often those involving historic allegations. It is extremely difficult to prove an allegation where there is no forensic evidence, phone data or CCTV. Memories fade, contemporary evidence will have been destroyed and key witnesses are often no longer available.
Hickman & Rose are highly experienced at representing clients charged with – or under investigation for – offences dating as far back as 50 years. The key to our success defending these cases has often been in unearthing previously unknown facts through the disclosure process. This can include ensuring that contemporaneous diaries are properly reviewed and that third party material such as social services material plus medical and counselling records are fully considered.
If you are suspected of a sexual offence, we would advise you to contact us immediately so that we can ensure steps are taken to minimise reputational damage and work proactively to secure evidence. Where appropriate we can make representations to the police and the Crown Prosecution Service with a view to preventing charges being brought.
The majority of our cases are successfully concluded following a police investigation, without charges being brought. However, if you are charged and taken to court, our team of experienced lawyers will meticulously prepare the case, instruct the leading forensic and medical experts and field some of the best advocates around for the delicate task of representation.
As well as representing those facing sexual allegations, we also offer advice and guidance to complainants and witnesses, whether you are considering reporting an allegation to the police or have been asked to provide a statement, we can advise you of your options, assist you through the process and liaise with the police on your behalf. We also provide advice and assistance in relation to those who are the victim of online sexual offences including sexual blackmail and ‘revenge porn’.
Our lawyers also act for companies, charities and other organisations dealing with allegations of a sexual nature, supporting you through a police investigation, advising in relation to requests for information from the police and the courts and guiding you through the criminal justice process.