Revenge Porn Client Avoids Prison Sentence
If you are being investigated for revenge porn, you will need to be pro-active and get our expert team on your side immediately. Call us now on 0800 1933 999.
In Derby Magistrates’ Court today, Zack Wallis told our experienced criminal defence solicitor, Steve Williams, that he was relieved about the outcome of his case and that he had learnt from what was a very worrying experience.
Zack, who is just 19 years of age, had been charged with the relatively new offence of Revenge Pornography.
(In April 2015, the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 created a new criminal offence of Revenge Pornography, which made it an offence to disclose private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress.)
When Zack first contacted us for help, he explained that the Revenge Porn charge had been brought as a result of actions he admitted, which he and his peer group thought were socially acceptable.
However, Steve Williams quickly made Zack aware that although growth in the use of social media made it very easy to share private photographs with a wide audience, new legislation meant that people doing this with the intention of causing distress to the ‘victim’ would be prosecuted.
Zack was shocked when Steve told him that the penalties for this offence included a maximum two year custodial sentence.
As in all cases which Forrest Williams Legal Ltd agree to take on, we spent time listening to Zack’s account of what had happened prior to his being charged with the offence.
Zack told us that he had been in a one year relationship with the victim some years ago. The relationship had ended after Zack found out the victim had been seeing someone else behind his back.
Out of the blue, Zack said, he received a message from the victim via Facebook and they communicated online for a while before agreeing to meet up.
When they met up, they had sex. Zack admitted he filmed them having sex, and he also admitted then sending the film to his friends. He said this was common practice amongst his peer group.
All was going well until Zack called the victim and a male answered her mobile phone. Zack told us he was angry, as he remembered how the victim had two-timed him in the past.
Zack then sent the film to his friends and, following an angry exchange between him and the victim, sent a copy of the film to her too. She contacted the police to report what Zack had done.
Zack was told by the District Judge that his actions were being taken very seriously by the court, and that a custodial sentence was being considered.
The initial hearing, at which Zack pleaded guilty to the offence, was adjourned off to a later date so he could meet with Probation Services and a pre-sentence report be prepared with recommendations for the court.
When Zack attended court with Steve for the second time, he was informed that a restraining order had been made as well as an order for him to pay £1,000 in costs to the victim, for whom the District Judge said the offence had caused “significant distress”. Zack was also ordered to pay court costs and a victim surcharge.
Zack was very relieved to have avoided the custodial sentence which, at the first hearing, the District Judge warned him was a likely outcome. The starting point, according to the magistrates’ sentencing guidelines, was 6 weeks’ custody.
However, the court took into account Steve’s assertive handling of the case and the mitigation put forward on Zack’s behalf – including his remorse, good character and lack of previous offences.
Zack told us he had taken stock of his past behaviour and taken on board the need for his behaviour to change, regardless of what his peers continued to believe was ‘the norm’ for young people. Some behaviour, he had learned, could have very serious consequences.
If you have been charged with Revenge Porn, or if you have any questions about this new offence, contact our office today on 01623 600645 for free, initial advice.