Tag Archives: sexual offence

Our Crown Court representation secures not guilty verdict

Senior Crown Court litigator Caine Ward and in-house counsel Steve Gosnell provided crown court representation to a client crown court representation sexual offencecharged with a serious sexual offence.

The offending was said to have occurred over a period of two days and the alleged victim was known to  Caine’s client.  Originally there were two allegations made by the same complainant.  He was in his forties and of previous good character.

Free and independent police station advice

crown court representation nottingham sexual offencesCaine’s client took the opportunity to have free and independent legal advice in the police station.  He answered all questions put to him.  He maintained that they were in a relationship and any contact was consensual.

Further, he went on the state that there would be material on both his and her phone that would support his account.  In particular, there would be messaging between her and her friends that would corroborate what he said.

Our client was released on police bail.  He was told that this was to permit the interrogation of the mobile phones in the case.  He remained on police bail for seven months.

Following investigation, the police and prosecution made a bizarre decision not to charge the most serious offence, but simply proceed with one of the allegations.  Bearing in mind both allegations hinged on the credibility of the same complainant this was hard to understand.

Prosecution pressured to review the case

When the case was first before the court statements were served.  It became clear why the prosecution were not proceeding with one of the charges as the complainant had changed her account in a significant way.  It remained hard to see why the prosecution were continuing with the second allegation in the circumstances.

Of greater concern was that requests for the phone evidence that the police had had seven months to secure went unheeded.  Caine drafted a defence statement.  This demonstrated the importance of the phone evidence.  He repeated the request when the defence statement was served.

Again, the prosecution delayed in providing the information.  Eventually, it was confirmed that the complainant had refused to hand over her mobile phone to the police so downloads could not be obtained.

The matter was listed for two pre-trial reviews so that pressure could be placed on the prosecution to review the case.  On both occasions, different Judges raised concerns about the wisdom of proceeding with the case.  In having the case listed we were able to keep up pressure on the prosecution to drop the prosecution.

Missing phone evidence

crown court representation solicitor nottinghamThe prosecution finally confirmed that not only had the complainant’s phone not been handed to the police but that she had disposed of it and now had a new one.  As a result, all of the evidence had been lost.  The complainant maintained that she had never been asked for her phone.  This was at odds with unused material that Caine had seen.

In the end the prosecution were compelled to review the case one further time and decided to offer no evidence in the week before the trial.  A not guilty verdict was entered. This was clearly the right decision and removed any risk that our client would be convicted before a jury.

All of this was achieved with our client having the benefit of Crown Court criminal legal aid.

Instruct experts in Crown Court representation

crown court representation nottingham
Senior Crown Court litigator Caine Ward

We have an experienced team of crown court litigators and in-house advocates to provide you with expert crown court representation.  An important part of the preparation of your case will be to see whether the prosecution can be put in a position where it has to drop your case before trial.

If you wish to instruct Caine in a case then please telephone him on 0115 9599550 or use the contact form below.


Historic Allegations Successfully Challenged

Senior Crown Court litigator Laura Clarson was instructed by a client facing historic allegations of serious sexual offences.  Counsel Vanessa Marshall of 7 Bedford Row chambers was instructed.

Historic Allegations

historic allegations crime solicitor
Derby Crown Court

Laura’s  client had first arrested in 2013, aged 69,  for alleged sexual offences spanning a period of approximately 18 years from 1995 in relation to a single complainant.  The police and prosecution had initially decided that there was insufficient evidence to proceed as they had also gathered evidence in support of Laura’s clients denials.

A second complainant then made sexual allegations, albeit of quite a different nature, which led Laura’s client being charged with later offences.  A decision was then made that, absent any additional evidence, her client would be charged with the original allegations as well.

As a result of police enquiries, further historical allegations were made by another three complainants.  These allegations dated back as far as 1972.

Prosecution Failure to Disclose

historic allegations criminal solicitor
Crown Court Litigator Laura Clarson

All matters for the five complainants were tied into a single indictment and listed for trial before Derby Crown Court.  It became clear during the trial that the Crown had failed to disclose a substantial amount of material relevant to the case that had the potential to assist in our client’s defence.

It was impossible to consider properly this unused material so there was no alternative but for the trial to be adjourned to start afresh nine months later.

In the meantime, the prosecution chose to offer no evidence in relation to all of the allegations apart from those arising from the original investigation which had not been prosecuted.

Detailed Cross Examination on ‘Unused Material’

In readiness, counsel Vanessa Marshall  examined the additional material comprising years of medical, social services, school and counselling records.  This meant that lengthy cross examination of the complainant was needed.  This in turn led to a review of the case by the prosecution after this evidence had been challenged.

Not Guilty Verdicts on all Charges

historic allegations crime solicitor
The letter to Laura

The prosecution then chose to offer no further evidence against Laura’s client, who was by now aged 73, and invite not guilty verdicts.  The entire process had taken three years, during which time he had suffered ill health throughout.

Laura’s client took the time to write a letter thanking her for all that she had done and the manner in which he had been treated.

Contact Laura Clarson

Defending historic allegations is always difficult, but this case demonstrates that in instructing Laura Clarson you will know that your case is being given the time and attention that it needs.

Please telephone Laura on 0115 9599550 or use the contact form below.


On Trial for Serious Sexual Offence

Senior Crown Court Litigator Lisa Sawyer recently instructed Barrister Vanessa Marshall of 7 Bedford Row chambers.  The allegation of a serious sexual offence, and Lisa’s client was one of two defendant’s on trial.

Complainant Gave a Detailed Account

The prosecution case was that the complainant had been targeted in a nightclub by both defendants as she was drunk and vulnerable.  In evidence the complainant alleged that she only had a partial memory of leaving the club and what happened afterwards.  She maintained that she was not in control of her actions or in a position to consent to sexual contact owing to her intoxication.

sexual offence criminal defence legal aidThe three went to a flat and she maintained that she drifted in and out of consciousness, became aware that she was being made to have sex against her will, and pretended to be unconscious hoping that they would leave her alone.  She alleged that they did, and she was able to take her belongings and flee.  She complained of being ill-treated to a taxi driver and to her mother.

The complainant was able to give the location of the flat that she had been taken to.   The co-accused was arrested and he gave the name of Lisa’s client.  Their mobile phones were seized and interrogated.  Photographs of the complainants underwear were recovered and a video footage of Lisa’s client having sex with the complainant who seemed to be asleep and wasn’t participating.  Further photos were found that did not show either defendant in a good light.  Further interrogation of the phones showed that the defendants were part of a Whatsapp group that publicised their sexual encounters and kept count.

Client Accepted Poor Conduct but not Rape

Lisa’s client and co-accused accepted being the two men involved, and accepted sexual activity in the night club.  They maintained that the complainant was not as intoxicated as she latter alleged.  A request for disclosure of CCTV from

sexual offence criminal solicitor
Nottingham Crown Court

outside the club supported this account.  Both men accepted having intercourse with the complainant.  They accept that there conduct in relation to the photos, filming and messages was distasteful and showed a lack of respect, they had not raped the complainant.  Detail they they could provide of the complainants personal circumstances could only have come from conversation with her, suggesting she was sober.

Phone Evidence Supported the Defence

Our client argued that the complainant arose out of regret after the fact.   There was evidence to show that she had spoken to a friend in the taxi back to her mothers, but had deleted that call record from her phone before the police could seize it.  She gave different accounts as to her recollection in her interviews and in her first description of events to those concerned in the investigation.

Although a trial for a sexual offence should be heard quickly, proceedings were prolonged.  The first trial concluded with a hung jury.  There was a second trial in December 2016 that resulted in both defendant’s being acquitted.

Client had Legal Aid for Sexual Offence Trial

The case had a number of complexities that counsel and Lisa identified.  With the benefit of legal aid, Lisa was able to:

  • Instruct a medical expert to comment on injuries seen to the complainant
  • A telecommunications expert who provided crucial evidence as to deleted calls and commentary on call history between her client and the complaiant
  • Instruct expert counsel to represent her client

Exemplary Character

Although counsel was from London chambers, Lisa knew that she would spend as much time as preparation of the case would entail.  Significant time was spent with our client in conference.  Lisa drafted a comprehensive defence statement dealing with every aspect of her client’s defence so that he could not be criticised at trial.  Her client’s instructions were eight pages long.  Lisa was able to secure a number of references that demonstrated her client’s exemplary character away from these proceedings.

Counsel fought extremely hard on behalf of Lisa’s client to secure this result and avoid a conviction and sentence that would have been measured in years.

Contact Lisa Sawyer

sexual offence criminal defence
Senior Crown Court Litigator Lisa Sawyer

Whatever the charge you face before the Crown Court, be it a sexual offence or other allegation, Lisa will be able to provide you with expert specialist legal advice, instruct the best advocates and secure any expert evidence necessary to assist you case.  Please telephone her on 0115 9599550 or email her here.