Types of Sexual Offences
We act for people accused of various sexual offences from possession of indecent images to the most serious rapes and historic allegations of sexual abuse. We have acted for people accused of possessing indecent images and the distribution of indecent images of children over the internet.
Allegations which result in being arrested for a sexual offence can be an extremely harrowing experience that can affect your personal relationships with loved ones and seriously damage your reputation. We also understand the trauma and anguish that is caused by having personal details entered on the sex offenders register for relatively minor offences.
We think any allegation of a sex offence is serious; the consequences for the accused can be far reaching no matter what the allegation is. However the offences below are thought of as the more serious offences
Rape is the intentional penetration by a person with his penis, without consent, of the vagina, anus or mouth of another.
Assault by Penetration
Assault by penetration is the penetration of the vagina or anus of another without consent. The penetration must be sexual. Something is “sexual” if the reasonable, average person would consider it so.
Sexual assault is intentionally touching another person in a way that is sexual, without consent.
Under certain circumstances the court will presume that consent did not exist and this applies to charges for rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault. The onus is then on the defendant to show that it, in fact, did. These circumstances include:
- if violence has been used against the victim or another person
- if the victim has been held captive
- if the victim was unconscious
- if the victim was physically disabled
- if the victim was under the influence of a substance that overpowered them
If the alleged victim has consumed alcohol then difficulties can arise although there could still be a case for drunken consent. However, if the amount of alcohol consumed is so large that it is likely to cause unconsciousness then non consent may be presumed on this ground.
The main defence against charges of rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault is consent or having a reasonable belief that consent existed. The person must have had the freedom and capacity to choose consent. If consent did not exist but there was a belief that consent existed then that belief must be honestly held and be one that a normal person on the street would hold.
Grooming is an offence which is charged when someone has been communicating with someone under 16 and then goes on to meet them in order to carry out an offence such as sexual intercourse. The offence does not have to occur, simply travelling to the venue and intending to carry it out is sufficient. Sentences for grooming can be dealt with in either magistrates or crown courts with a maximum sentence of 10 years in crown court.
The first thing you should do if you are arrested for this type of offence is contact one of our expert legal advisors at Murrays.
We can also offer legal aid to cover the cost of your advice and representation. Please see our page on Legal Aid for Criminal Defence for more detailed information.