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We need to talk about sex offences. Again.

Sex offences, and in particular the way rape charges are dealt with from start to finish, are due yet another serious conversation. There are no easy answers. It is clear that, aside from a few rotten apples, many hard-working police and prosecutors are between a rock and hard place. No-one sensible would argue against due…

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Suspect Anonymity: is it actually feasible?

Former popstar and baby-boomer heart-throb Cliff Richard is suing the BBC for breach of privacy regarding its report that he had been accused of a sexual offence, and also its coverage in 2014 of the subsequent police raid on his home. The BBC coverage included use of a helicopter, and broadcasting the police search through…

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Will the next DPP please stand up and be counted?

It has been reported Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, will not have her contract renewed when her five-year term expires in September.  Ms Saunders denies that she has been “forced out”, claiming that she decided to move into private practice last year and informed the government herself that she would be unable to…

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Disclosure failings: under-funded, under-trained and unfair

A fair disclosure process is the heart of a healthy criminal justice system.  The police and prosecutors (who, whilst responsible for investigating and prosecuting, should of course be impartial and open-minded) are entrusted with reviewing evidence in a case and – where it may assist a defendant or undermine the prosecution’s case – disclosing its…

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The decision to release John Worboys raises more questions than answers

In April 2009, taxi driver John Worboys was sentenced for 19 offences committed against 12 victims, all of whom were female customers in his black cab between 2003 and 2007. His victims were typically given laced drinks whilst in the back of his taxi in order to incapacitate them. The offences comprised one rape, five…

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Incompetent prosecutors cost us far more than money

Friday 20 October saw a pretty brutal broadside by the Times newspaper against the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Referring to CPS insiders’ claims largely from 2-3 years ago, The Times laid the following charges: (1) That the CPS entrusted certain ‘senior’ level Prosecutors with very serious criminal trials despite it being clear those Prosecutors were…

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Conviction quashed of a ‘flasher’ who was identified via Facebook gossip

A man convicted of indecent exposure has had his conviction quashed following a successful appeal to the Crown Court to have evidence of his identification via social media excluded.  The 22 year old butcher’s assistant had been accused of indecently exposing himself and chasing after the two female victims as they walked home from a…

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The Sex Offenders Register: How it works

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 imposes notification requirements on persons (or in the case of young people on their parents) convicted or cautioned for certain sexual offences. It also applies to those proven to have committed acts by virtue of their disability or found not guilty by reason of insanity. Such notification requirements are imposed…

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Historic Sexual Offences – definitive sentencing principles

Regina v Forbes & others [2016] EWCA 1388 involved conjoined appeals in a number of cases involving sentences for historic sexual offences. The Court of Appeal, presided over by the Lord Chief Justice, took the opportunity to consider relevant authorities and lay down a number of important principles to interpret current sentencing guidelines in accordance…

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Staggering rise in prosecutions for sexual and domestic violence offences

There are a number of catchy headline statistics to be taken from the recently published Crown Prosecution Service “Violence Against Women and Girls Crime Report 2015-2016”. Prosecutions for the new offence of disseminating revenge porn now exceed 200 and there have been five successful prosecutions for the new offence of using controlling and coercive behaviour….

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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.

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