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Defending historic sexual offence allegations

Thursday, 21 October 2021

If you are facing allegations, or have been charged with a historic sexual offence, you will probably have numerous questions about what is going to happen next. It is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible to achieve the best outcome for you. The sexual offences defence solicitors at Keith J Tuck are here to help you. Get in touch with our team today. The earlier you contact us, the more support we can offer.

What are historic sexual offences?

Historic sexual offences are offences alleged to have happened in the past. This could be five years ago or it could be twenty-five years ago. The passage of time does not prevent the police from conducting an investigation and it can come as something of a shock to find the police want to speak to you about something that might have happened many years ago.

What can I expect to happen if I am facing allegations?

The police will want to interview you at the police station. They may also search your property and can, in some circumstances, seize equipment such as mobile phones, laptops or computers.

It is important to cooperate with the police and ensure that you have a defence lawyer present with you during the interview.  You may be shocked to hear about the allegations and anxious about the interview procedure. It is, therefore, crucial to have a solicitor present who can support you throughout the process.

The police interview

An interview is not part of the evidence gathering process, although the police may use it to try to gain more information from you by asking questions.

The solicitor who represents you in the interview will assess the strength of the evidence the police have and advise whether you should answer questions or exercise your right to remain silent.

After a police interview, you may be released on bail and there may be a period of weeks or months until you know if the police intend to proceed with a prosecution. 

The importance of instructing solicitors early

Historic sexual allegations are challenging for Courts and juries.  They usually rely on one person’s memory and Prosecutors may be under pressure to secure a conviction. This means that the potential for a miscarriage of justice is high. 

It is important to seek legal advice as soon as you can so that the defence case can be thoroughly researched and prepared before any trial takes place. It may also be necessary to retrieve and consider information such as diaries or other written information that was created years ago. Cases such as these are complex and sensitive and require time and attention to detail.

If a charge is brought against you, a date will be given for attending Court. There may be several Court hearings before any trial takes place and the Prosecution must provide the Defence with the evidence it intends to rely on in Court. It will be necessary to scrutinise the evidence and statements provided by the Prosecution and check that the charges are brought in accordance with the law in force at the time the alleged offence was committed. 

Instructing solicitors at an early stage will allow such matters to be thoroughly researched and considered so that any unfounded allegations can be robustly and rigorously defended.

Mutual corroboration

This is a part of Scottish Law which allows a number of allegations to be grouped together in order to show a pattern of behaviour. These can be produced to the Court by the Prosecution to strengthen the evidence against you. They may concern a number of different accusers and allegations that could be years apart and it is important to instruct solicitors who have experience in dealing with the principles of this doctrine. 

How can I prove my innocence?

You are innocent until you are proven guilty, and the onus is on the prosecution to prove that you are guilty – not on you to prove your innocence. The prosecution must prove your guilt beyond all reasonable doubt.

Find out more about the criminal procedure in Scotland in our guide

Court proceedings

A trial is the very last stage in proceedings, which could take several months to filter through the Courts. There can be several hearings before any trial takes place and it is possible that applications to dismiss evidence or deal with matters such as bad character and hearsay will need to be made.

It is possible that a case may not end up at trial but our experienced solicitors will prepare every case on the presumption that it will.  They also understand the stress such proceedings can bring to you and your family and will support and advise you through those difficult times. Our solicitors will seek to prepare your case so that you are as confident as you can be of a positive outcome.

Contact our Sexual Offence Solicitors in Glasgow, Scotland

If you are accused of a historical sexual offence, it is vital that you appoint a criminal defence lawyer who specialises in both the historic and the current law in order to achieve the best possible outcome. Our criminal lawyers operate in Glasgow and the surrounding areas.

If you are being investigated for a historic sexual offence please call us today on 0141 336 2020, or contact us via our online contact form.

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