Assault and Sexual Offences
An allegation of assault or sexual offence can have a devastating impact on an individual, their family, and their career. We provide expert and professional advice from representation at the police station through to trial and appeal.
Our solicitors are available 24 hours a day and can be by your side representing you and your case.
Allegations of assault can vary from a threat of violence, domestic abuse and assaults to serious violence such as GBH and murder. For an offence to be committed the violence must be unlawful – if an individual is acting in self-defence, or accidentally, the offence is not committed.
The offence of common assault carries a maximum six month prison sentence and is tried in the Magistrates’ Court. Common assault is committed by threatening immediate unlawful violence and no physical contact is needed.
Assault by beating is the intentional use of physical force.
ABH is committed when an individual intentionally or recklessly assaults another causing actual bodily harm. The harm does not have to be permanent but must be more than trivial.
Psychological harm that involves feelings such as fear, distress or panic and is a recognised psychiatric illness it is likely the offence of ABH has been committed. The maximum sentence is five years imprisonment.
GBH is defined as ‘really serious’ harm. The differences between unlawful wounding/ inflicting GBH (s20 OAPA) and wounding/causing GBH with intent s18 (OAPA) are defined by what was alleged to be in the mind of the person committing the offence.
S20 – the individual either intended or foresaw the act causing some harm or wounding. The maximum sentence is five years in prison.
S18 requires the individual to intend to cause really serious harm. The maximum sentence is life in prison.
If an allegation of sexual assault has been made against you, the allegation will have a devastating effect on you, your family and your friends. It will be a difficult situation to deal with, especially if the allegation is untrue. The facts of a sexual assault allegation will be personal and complex and have long-lasting consequences.
No you should never do this. Whether you are guilty or innocent never make any kind of contact as this could damage your case.
As soon as you have been asked to appear at the police station – even voluntarily – you should arrange to have legal representation. Even if you are innocent.
A criminal defence solicitor is used to dealing with the police in offences such as these. A solicitor will communicate with the officer in the case and obtain details of the facts. A solicitor will be able to give you this information so that you are aware of the what you are being accused of before the police interview. Without legal representation there is no duty of disclosure.
There is no time limit placed on making an allegation of sexual assault although it is usually near to the time of the incident. Once the matter has been reported the police will start obtaining evidence and take the case forward.
Irrespective of when the sexual assault is said to have taken place, the police will look to obtain evidence of the offence. If the allegation relates to a recent assault, samples will be obtained.
Mobile phones and computers will be checked for evidence. Never delete any contact prior or after interview. Emails or text messages from the accuser could help prove consent. Equally if you destroy evidence it could be perceived that you are trying to cover something up.
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