Legal Aid or Privately Funded Representation for Sexual Offences?

According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) Sexual offences recorded by police in England and Wales increased by 20% in the year to March 2014.

Almost on a daily basis now we hear of celebrities being arrested and in some cases being charged with historical sexual offences. Some of these allegations relate to offences committed many years/decades ago and In most of these cases there is no corroborating evidence and essentially it is the alleged victim’s word against that of the accused.

Sexual offences are different from other offences. They can damage/destroy reputations, break up families, ruin a person’s career stigmatise individuals even before they have been convicted.

A significant amount of the work I do is covered by legal aid whether it is advising/assisting clients at police station or in relation to proceedings in the youth/magistrates’ or crown court.

Everyone regardless of his or her financial position is entitled to free legal advice at police stations. Once an individual has been charged with an offence he/she will get legal aid for court proceedings if it is in the ‘interests of justice’ and they qualify financially. If someone is self-employed they would have to submit accounts for their business and in considering the legal aid application the court would take into account the applicant’s AND his/her partner’s income. Applications for legal aid can take a considerable amount of time particularly where the applicant or his/her partner is self-employed.

We as lawyers will of course do our best to ensure that those who are guilty of offences get the best possible result and prove the innocence of those who are not guilty of the offences alleged. However each individual is different. Whist some may be happy to see their lawyer as and when necessary others will need far greater time and care. By instructing a criminal defence solicitor specialising in sexual offences on a private basis you will have far greater say and control over how your case is conducted.

Like most things in life you get what you pay for and although the work we undertake is given the same detailed consideration and attention whether under legal aid or privately funded there are some advantages in instructing a solicitor on a privately funded basis rather then under legal aid. Examples include:-

1) It is more likely to guarantee that I personally attend the police station in order to advice and assist you 24/7.

2) If you are bailed to return to the police station at a future date I will personally see you in my office to advise you, discuss case strategies with you, take witness statements etc.

3) If required I would also attend the police station with you when you are simply going to be re-bailed to a future date, something we cannot get paid for separately under legal aid.

4) I will be available on the telephone +447770267894

5) If you are unfortunate enough to be charged I will personally deal with every aspect of preparing your defence and would meet you in the office as and when necessary and also personally attend counsel’s chambers with you for conferences.

6) You will have a greater say in which barrister/advocate represents you at court and the a greater certainty that the same barrister/advocate will represent you at court on each occasion in the future.

7) I would also attend court with counsel/advocate on each occasion in order to answer any questions that you have and to support you though what can be a very traumatic experience and the outcome of which could have very long-term consequences.

When someone is arrested and bailed to return to the police station in the future the police can take many months before a final decision is made. For example the vast majority of police investigations into allegations of sexual abuse take at least a year before a decision is made whether to prosecute or not. This will inevitably be a very worrying and stressful situation for any one who is on bail for such offences.

In such situations you will need regular advice and updates from someone who is experienced in dealing with such matters and someone who will be discreet and non judgmental. I have extensive experience of dealing with all manner of sexual offences. For details of some sexual cases that I have dealt with recently please click on ‘sexual offences’ link here.

About half of my current caseload concerns alleged sexual offences. With my vast experience over the last 27 years of dealing with such matters I am acutely aware of the trauma and the distress clients go through when faced with such false sexual allegations particularly when they are falsely accused by a current/former partner, child of the family, friend or work colleague and how damaging such allegations can be to clients reputation, career and family life. It is also an extremely difficult time for the accused’s family. Even after someone has completed their sentence the ramifications of a conviction for such an offence can linger on for many years, as the individual will be subject to the registration requirements (”sex offenders register”) and the Sex offenders Protection Order (SOPO) that will restrict the individual’s movements/association for many years.

Whether you are accused of possessing/downloading indecent images of children, possession of extreme pornography, grooming, voyeurism, sexual assault, rape, historical child sex abuse I can help as I have extensive experience of dealing with such cases

Just because you have been charged does not mean that you are guilty. Do not give up. Let me help you to prove your innocence. Call me now on +447770267894 for a free consultation and let me help you.

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