Charged with a Sexual Offence? - Don't make these 10 Common Mistakes

By Admin in Latest News on

PCD Solicitors are often instructed in cases where a person has already been charged with an offence and we are left to pick up the pieces of interviews gone wrong, incriminating comments made and the obtaining of wrongful advice or in some instances no advice at all. 

Your attendance at the police station as a suspect is incredibly important, whether you are attending as a volunteer or under arrest.  Here we have listed the 10 common mistakes we are regularly instructed to fix. 

1. Making Incriminating Statements During Arrest

Police often attend the homes and work places of those suspected of committing a sexual offence. Their attendance is most often without prior warning and a suspect can be like a rabbit caught in the head lights, confused, anxious and in a state of panic. As a result comments are made sometimes which lead to the admission of offences. 

Instead of trying to make any comments during the execution of an arrest warrant or search of premises it always best to invoke your right to remain silent until you have obtained legal advice - even when you are innocent!

2.  Forgetting That You May be Being Recorded 

Everything a suspect does and says during an arrest or when their premises are being searched is documented. The comments/actions of a suspect are documented in writing by the officer or in most cases recorded via body worn camera. In the police vehicle on your way to the police station everything you say is documented, when you arrive at the police station you are on CCTV and again, the officer investigating your case will be making note of all comments made. It is therefore important you conduct yourself in a way that you would not mind being shown to a jury. 

3. Not Getting a Solicitor at the Police Station

Whether you are innocent or not, it is important that you always instruct a solicitor at any police station interview. An interview environment can be very intense, the police can disclose potential evidence to you during your interview that your solicitor may have been able to obtain beforehand to ensure you were prepared. 

Not having a solicitor in interview cannot be relied upon for any incriminating comments you may give. It is one of your most important rights when attending the police station as a suspect - use it! 

4. Not Being Prepared for Court

Being prepared in a case can make a crucial difference to whether you are found guilty or not guilty. PCD solicitors have extensive experience in preparing the most serious sexual offences for trials and sentence. We work with our clients for as long and as efficiently as possible before a hearing, to ensure when you arrive at court you feel ready to face the proceedings with the best representation. 

5. Contacting the Complainant

Many of our clients are accused by people they know. It is very tempting to send a text to your accuser asking for them to drop the case. We advise no contact with any complainant in a case or their witnesses, not only could this damage a defence case but could lead to further offences being committed such as witness intimidation. 

It is also important you do not ask a third party to make contact. 

6. Taking Advice from Family Members or Friends 

Your best friend may have been under investigation for similar offences and "got off" with it or, a family member may have studied law at university and want to help. While your friends and family mean well and want to help, they are not a specialist lawyer and it is always best to seek specialist advice and allow qualified lawyers to advise you on the evidence the law and apply your personal circumstances to the facts. 

7. Choosing to Represent Yourself Instead of Instructing a Specialist Defence Solicitor

One of the biggest mistakes that can be made is deciding that you have nothing to hide and to represent yourself. Even with strong evidence to prove their innocence, most people lack to do themselves justice when it comes to defending an allegation made against them.

There are many reasons for this, one of which is not having the legal knowledge and understanding of the rules of evidence, but also sexual offence allegations can be incredibly emotive and it is important when defending a case the strongest and most beneficial legal arguments are made to get the best outcome for you. 

8. Deleting Text Messages

Do not delete any messages or call logs from your mobile phone device. The police can recover deleted material and seeing that material has been deleted could raise further suspicions. There could also be extremely beneficial evidence within your messages that would assist your defence case.

9. Posting on Social Media

Try to refrain from expressing your thoughts about the allegations on social media. Social media is a powerful tool and it is safe too say the police will review your social media with a view to obtaining evidence. 

As defence solicitors we would also consider the social media posts of the accuser and their witnesses. Keep an eye out for any posts made about the allegations and be sure to keep a record or screenshot. 

The police are unlikely to take the mobile phone from a complainant and therefore, it is our job to do the digging. 

10. Not Hiring a Specialist Defence Solicitor for the Offence you Are Charged With 

We are often initially approached by clients who have used alternative solicitors for a part of their case. Whilst that solicitor may be extremely well qualified and experienced, they are often dealing with a vast case load of various general crime matters. 

PCD Solicitors deal exclusively with sexual offences. Where a client is charged with a non sexual offence, in addition to a sexual offence we will of course deal with both matters. However, our day to day work involves nothing more than preparing legal arguments and defences for those accused of sexual crimes. 

Our team are dedicated to their continuous development in this area of law and are up to date with all of the relevant changes. Our team have worked on cases at the Court of Appeal which have gone on to set precedent in the sentencing approach in cases concerning the sexual abuse of children and we continue to work on some of the most high profile cases throughout England and Wales. 

Contact us

We offer a free initial consultation with you over the telephone. This is a non-judgemental chat where we get to know you, find out about the allegations you are facing and start to map out the best plan of action for your case. 

To speak with one of our lawyers, please call 0151 705 8488.