City lawyer not to be charged in anonymous QC sexual assault case
City lawyer Graeme Stening will face no further action over an allegation of sexual assault made by a female QC after an alleged public sexual encounter outside Waterloo Station in August last year. No charges will be brought because of insufficient evidence.
Stening and the female QC were arrested outside Waterloo Station. Stening denied any wrongdoing and was charged with outraging public decency. The female QC was cautioned for the same offence. A caution requires an admission from the suspect that they have committed the offence.
Six weeks after accepting the caution, the QC sought to have it removed on the basis that it was ‘administered erroneously’ as she was too intoxicated to have consented to sexual activity with Mr Stening (and therefore had been sexually assaulted). Her identity is now protected under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 which grants complainants of sexual offences lifelong anonymity - including where no charges have been brought.
The unnamed QC has denied suggestions from some quarters that she may have made a false allegation to secure anonymity and protect her professional and personal reputation. She maintains that the complaint was made “in good faith” and that any suggestion otherwise is “deeply offensive and upsetting”.
Stening’s lawyer, Amarjit Bhachu, described his client as “a man of impeccable character [who] has had his name tarnished by a false allegation where the complainant cannot be named.”
Criminal defence lawyer Nick Freeman, a long time campaigner for anonymity of defendants of rape and sexual offences prior to conviction, is now calling on the Bar Standards Board to investigate the incident.
Freeman described how Stening “has been brutalised in the press with a serious tarnish to his professional and personal reputation. The allegation of sexual assault has been dropped but public opinion and gossip takes a much greater time to dissipate.”
The Times reported that a complaint had been made to the Bar Standards Board. A spokesperson stated "We are aware of the circumstances surrounding the case. It would be inappropriate to comment on which stage the process is at, or to speculate on the outcome, but we can confirm the matter is being dealt with in line with the normal procedures/"
Stening has pleaded not guilty to the charge of outraging public decency. His trial is due to take place later this month.
Click here to find out how Brett Wilson LLP criminal defence solicitors can assist you if you have been accused of a sexual offence.
Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.