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Rape is a very serious charge and is a matter that is indictable only, which means that it can only be heard in the Crown Court. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Rape charges are very complex and involve a lot of social stigmas and can create heightened emotions for all involved. Recent cases that have been prolifically detailed in the media have meant that police and prosecutors are now taking a more radical approach to investigating rape allegations.
Being charged with rape can result in reputational damage whatever the outcome and will be life-changing. A conviction is almost certain to result in a prison sentence and registration as a sex offender. It is imperative that anyone facing a charge of rape gets expert legal advice immediately and before giving any interviews to the Police, as statements made in the early stages can have a huge impact on the outcome of the case.
Our specialist defence lawyers can advise and guide you through the whole process aiming to obtain the best possible outcome and reduce reputational damage.
Historic rapes have received a large amount of media publicity following some fairly high-profile police operations involving people in the public eye. Historic rapes can date back many years (sometimes even decades).
This can add another degree of complexity since the passage of time can affect witnesses’ recollection as well as whether relevant documentation is still available.
Rape and consent
Rape is defined under section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as one person’s intentional penetration of another person’s vagina, anus or mouth with his penis where the other person does not consent and he does not believe that the other person consents.
Consent is a difficult issue and can be complicated by the characteristics of the person making the complaint, including their age (under 16 years olds cannot give consent), capacity to be able to make a choice and any mental health issues. Someone that has consumed a large quantity of alcohol or drugs may not have the relevant capacity to give consent, even if they usually would when they were sober. Whether the complainant raises issues of coercion or was on medication, was asleep or otherwise unconscious, can also be raised in relation to whether there was valid consent. The fact that the accused is young does not prevent a charge of rape: both parties can be children including those that are very young. Spouses and partners of the complainant can be charged and found guilty of rape.
Rape allegations against professionals
Allegations of rape by professionals are differentiated from other cases due to the issue of the accused being in a position of trust.
The types of professionals this would include is those in the medical profession, teachers, care home staff and those in social services.
Prosecutions for Rape are more widespread than the public perception despite recent reports of the high proportion of complaints not prosecuted. It is a difficult offence to prove but that does not mean that there are not many people charged with Rape and tried for the offence.
We have significant experience in representing defendants charged with sexual offences and will always remain independent and objective when advising and assisting those who instruct us.
Why choose JSP Law
We can provide a non-judgemental, supportive, sensitive service for people under investigation for rape. We understand how a charge of rape will impact on a person’s life and will work with you in a completely confidential way.
We work across offices in Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire. We are also able to represent you if you live elsewhere since we can also see you at home, in prison or in custody if necessary.