Crimes covered by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 are typically referred to as sexual offences. They can include crimes such as rape and sexual assault, as well as sexual crimes involving children. The potential sentence will depend on the actual crime, and the severity of the crime, but it is important that you have good legal counsel to ensure that you have a solid defence.
Typically, sexual offence cases involving an adult complainant will come down to the question of whether consent was given, and whether the defendant knew that consent was given. This can lead to complex trials, with difficult rules on evidence and procedure, and expert testimony about the physical evidence.
Sexual offences against children do not typically include the question of consent, and whether it was given or not. If a child is aged under 13, then the case will be treated as rape, regardless of whether supposed consent was given. Cases involving two children of the same age will not usually lead to prosecution where the sexual contact was considered to have been consensual, but if one party was coerced or abused, then the other party may be prosecuted.
The advent of the Internet has seen the range of child abuse and sexual offence cases increase. One such offence is meeting a child after online grooming has taken place. If it can be proven that a person met with a child, for the purpose of having sex, after grooming them for the meeting online, then this is considered a serious crime and carries similarly serious sentences. There are also many people facing charges relating to illegal pornography, which can be traced to particular places and computers via IP addresses.
Alleged abuse by parents and carers also leads to criminal prosecutions. 16 and 17 year olds are protected by the law, which makes it illegal for adults in a position of power, including teachers, to initiate and partake in sexual activities with these children.
Sex offences are considered extremely serious crimes, and they can wreck the lives of all involved. It is imperative that you receive expert, sensitive legal counsel in order to ensure that you benefit from a fair trial. If you are being accused of any of these or other sex offences then contact us today, and we will find the right criminal barrister to discuss the details of your case.