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Criminal Defence Blog

Archive for August, 2016

You Can Be Sorry Without Being Guilty

sexual offence solicitors

 

You Can Be Sorry Without Being Guilty

 

We were instructed recently by a gentleman accused of sexual assault.

 

He fully accepted that the sexual touching alleged, had occurred.

 

He was advised by another firm of solicitors to plead guilty on this basis.

 

Fortunately, he sought a second opinion, and we delved deeper into the details.

 

While our client accepted that the sexual touching happened, and was mortified that he had caused upset to the alleged victim, he has adamant that the alleged victim had consented to the touching, or at least had given him a reasonable belief that she consented.

 

This case presented us with an interesting issue: remorse doesn’t always mean guilt.

 

This is an important point, because a decent person accused of an offence, may naturally express remorse for the incident and that remorse may be perceived as an admission of guilt.

 

A driver interviewed in relation to a case of of causing death by dangerous driving would almost certainly be devastated about the incident, but this devastation does not mean that there was any fault at all with their driving.

 

A person charged with failing to provide a breath specimen may be very sorry to not have given the sample, but if they have a valid reason for not giving the sample, they are not guilty of the offence, despite any apology they express for not fulfilling the request.

 

Similarly, our client charged with sexual assault was very apologetic for causing upset to the alleged victim, but that did not make him guilty in the eyes of the law.  In fact, we advised this client to plead not guilty, and he was found not guilty at trial.

 

It is important for everyone who works with or comes into contact with the legal system to remember that an expression of sympathy, regret or remorse is not an indication of guilt in many offences.

 

“I’m sorry that happened” isn’t the same as, “I did it”.

 

My Missing Brother Had Been Sent to Prison!

 

Julia Coffin of Forrest Williams

Julia Coffin of Forrest Williams

 

We had an interesting case recently.  A woman called us, concerned that she hadn’t heard from her brother Robert for over a week and couldn’t seem to contact him.  A visit to his home address led to a neighbour telling her that he had been arrested about four days earlier and she had not seen him since.

 

Clearly this worried Amelia as she didn’t even know where to start looking for her brother.  She rang the local police station but they wouldn’t tell her anything. Not knowing what to do next she called us to see if we could help.

 

We were straight on the case, making enquiries with the local police.  They could tell us that whilst he had been arrested he was no longer in their custody.  We contacted the local magistrates court to see if there had been a hearing and finally our investigations led us to discovering that Robert was being held on remand in a local prison.  He had been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault and remanded in custody as the victim was living 3 doors away on the same street and he couldn’t provide a suitable address to be bailed to.

 

Relying on mobile phones, as we all do these days, he had not committed any phone numbers to memory and was therefore unable to ring anyone from prison to let them know his whereabouts.

 

We arranged a prison visit and discovered that not only was he as pleased to see us as we were to find him – he was also very clear that he was innocent of the allegations that had been made against him and very scared to be in prison.

 

We were able to secure a hearing within 2 days at which we made a bail application and he was released to the address of a family member in the next town.

 

We obtained the evidence from the CPS and were able to view the CCTV provided.  We could not find anything to determine that it was our client that had committed the offence and prepared a trial on that basis.  The CCTV showed an altercation but there was no sound, and there was no evidence of assault on the footage.

 

Our client was acquitted at trial, and Amelia contacted us afterwards to tell us that she had felt so frightened and alone, and didn’t know what to do, but once she had found us everything started to move forward and she was so grateful for our support, as was her brother. 

 

If you or a loved one need help for a criminal offence, call our expert team now on 01623 600645.

 

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