Sexual Offences

Police recorded sexual offences reached their highest level over a 12-year period in the year ending December 2021 and increased by 22% from the preceding [Office of National Statistics. Crime in England and Wales: year ending December 2021].

The increasing court delays faced by complainants and victims have been widely covered in the national media, as have the serious problems with resources throughout the Criminal Justice System.

Sexual Offences allegations bring into sharp focus several key issues:

The pre-recording of witness evidence under the “section 28” procedure

Section 28 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 was introduced by the government to allow witnesses to give their evidence before trial. Whilst it is often presented as a ‘solution’, in  reality, this procedure has many flaws. One such flaw is  that the jury loses the ability to assess the witness in real life, and instead sees them across a large court room being played back on a small screen. If trials were not taking so long to get to court, the vast number of these pre recordings would be unnecessary.

‘Released under investigation’

It is very common for those charged with Rape and other serious sexual offences to be ‘released under investigation’ after they are first spoken to about the allegations. This procedure was introduced by the government in April 2017 after negative publicity about the amount of time people were being placed on police bail (where someone is being investigated by the police, but is released from custody and subject to conditions such as not going to a certain area, not contacting a certain person, or living at a particular address).

The new procedure means there is no time limit for how long a person can be ‘under investigation’, and there are no conditions imposed upon them. People innocent of the offences they are accused of often wait a year or more before finding out whether they are going to be charged. Victims of these offences make their report and then see the perpetrator out and about in the community with no restrictions placed upon them

Investigations and disclosure

When the police investigate an offence they have a duty to investigate fairly, keep proper records, and disclose anything which undermines their case or helps the defence case to the defence. This process, known as ‘disclosure’, has raised significant concern in recent times when material has not been provided.

Reports suggest this is now happening in four out of ten cases. Issues have also been raised as to the balance between a complainant’s right to privacy and the importance of disclosure to a fair trial. Much of the publicity surrounding this issue fails to focus on the fact that material is only provided to the defence if it undermines the Prosecution case or helps the defence case; would a trial be fair if such material were not provided?

For more information please contact our clerks on 020 7404 1881 or via email to We will discuss your case with you and then arrange the right representation for your matter.

Sexual Offences Barristers

Allison Summers KC

Call 2000     Silk 2020

Karim Khalil KC

Call 1984     Silk 2003

Michael Magarian KC

Call 1988     Silk 2011

Stephen Spence

Call 1983

Christopher Wing

Call 1985

Nicholas Bleaney

Call 1988

Simon Kitchen

Call 1988

William Carter

Call 1989

Isobel Ascherson

Isobel Ascherson

Call 1991

Robert Bryan

Call 1992

Charles Myatt

Call 1993

Zarif Khan

Call 1996

Barnaby Shaw

Call 1996

John McNally

Call 1996

Joanne Eley

Call 1997

Stephen Mather

Call 1997

Karen Walton

Call 1998

Benedict Peers

Call 1998

Claire Matthews

Call 1998

Ryan Thompson

Call 1999

Financial Crime & Civil Recovery

Stephen Donnelly

Call 2001

Azza Brown

Call 2001

Philip Farr

Call 2001

Lynne Shirley

Call 2002

Adam Norris

Call 2002

Jo Morris

Call 2003

Claire Howell

Claire Howell

Call 2003

Christopher Jeyes

Call 2005

Unyime Davies

Unyime Davies

Call 2006

Simon Walters

Call 2010

Helen Easterbrook

Call 2011

Richard Davies

Call 2013

Georgia Luscombe

Call 2017

Michael Cranmer-Brown

Michael Cranmer-Brown

Associate Member

Call 1986

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