Lynne Shirley’s client acquitted of child sex offence – the case highlighted police failings in conducting an ABE interview with a young child

20 October 2023

Lynne’s client was acquitted today, by the jury, after less than six hours of deliberations, of a serious sexual offence involving a very young child, aged just four at the time of the complaint.

The case required careful (pre-recorded) cross examination of the child, who was initially video interviewed by the police, shortly after the complaint was made. 

Exploration of the circumstances surrounding the video interview with the police was undertaken in cross examination of the officers.  The child was not supported by a Registered Intermediary, despite her tender years at that interview. 

The police decided, after undertaking an initial assessment of the child, that such support was not required at the time of the video interview and proceeded without one. 

In cross examination of the police officers, it became clear that despite the child not understanding the concept of truth and lies, amongst other things, the interview continued.  Given that the principle issue for the jury to determine was whether or not the child had told the truth, this was a significant undermining factor of the Crown’s case.

A Registered Intermediary was in attendance when the child was asked questions several months later, in accordance with the section 28 pre-recorded cross examination procedure.  The answers given by the child were in direct contrast to those given during the police interview.

The defendant had always denied the allegation and maintained that denial to trial.

Lynne was instructed by Ruth Johnson of Metcalfe Copeman Pettefar LLP in Kings Lynn.

20 October 2023


Lynne Shirley

Call 2002

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