Robert Bryan defends ‘history-making’ Royal Navy sailor in rape case

17 June 2024

R v Kava Liliu [2024] Portsmouth Crown Court

Case Overview

The case involved a “history-making” Royal Navy Sailor, Kava Liliu, who was charged with rape. During his police interview, the Defendant claimed that sexual intercourse was consensual. However, under the guidance of experienced counsel, Robert Bryan, an early conference was held which led to an early guilty plea. This strategic move was significant in the progression and outcome of the case.

Key Developments

  1. Early Guilty Plea: The early involvement of experienced counsel led to a conference where the Defendant, despite his initial claim of consensual intercourse, entered an early guilty plea. This decision was crucial in streamlining the legal process and reducing the emotional burden on the victim.
  2. Sentencing Considerations: Prior to the sentencing hearing, written submissions were made regarding the appropriate application of the sentencing guidelines. These submissions argued that this was not a premeditated attack, although the victim was found to be vulnerable.
  3. Judge’s Decision: The judge was persuaded by these submissions, resulting in a sentence that was significantly less severe than might have been anticipated in such cases. This decision was influenced by the recognition that the attack was not planned.


The Defendant received a lighter sentence than typically expected for rape cases, which also contributed to a much-reduced impact on the victim. The case highlights the importance of specialist strategic advice and how it can affect both the legal process and the outcomes for the involved parties.

Press Coverage

The case has been covered by notable publications including The Telegraph, Daily Mail, and Hampshire Constabulary, indicating its significance and public interest.

Key Points

  • Early Guilty Plea: Facilitated by the involvement of experienced counsel, leading to a streamlined legal process.
  • Sentencing Guidelines: Effective written submissions influenced the judge’s decision, resulting in a lesser sentence.
  • Impact on Victim: The approach taken reduced the emotional and psychological impact on the victim.

This case underscores the importance of active early instruction of experienced Counsel in ensuring fair and effective outcomes in serious legal matters.

17 June 2024


Robert Bryan

Call 1992

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