Kangs Solicitors recently defended a client charged with the offence of attempting to engage a child in sexual communication (‘the offence’), which offence only came into force on the 3rd April 2017, and for which there are no adopted guidelines to assist a Judge upon sentencing.
Helen Holder of Kangs Solicitors reports upon the outcome for our client.
The Nature Of The Offence | Kangs Sexual Offences Advisory Team
An explanation of the offence appears in a previous article published by Helen Holder and which appeared on the 21st April 2017.
Please refer to the link:
Vigilante Groups | Kangs National Serious Crime Solicitors
In recent months there has been an increase on social media of so called ‘paedophile hunters’ who frequently operate as ‘hunter groups’.
Paedophile hunters deliberately set up profiles purporting to be under age children and entering into communication with individuals on chat rooms such as KIK with the intent of snaring potential child groomers.
Key to the process is emphasizing that ‘the child’ is underage and the messages tend to be saved with screenshots and digital chat logs to provide concrete evidence of the conversations that took place.
Once the conversations have turned sexual and the alleged offence has been committed, the hunters frequently confront the individual on camera and then inform the police, if they have not previously done so.
As the communications are conducted behind a fictitious identity and there is no actual child involved, the offence has to be charged as one of “attempt.”
The Case In Focus | Kangs Sexual Offences Defence Solicitors
Our client, a professional with no previous convictions, had pleaded guilty in the Magistrates’ Court and was committed to the Crown Court for sentencing.
At the sentencing hearing the Judge stated:
‘There was no one called “C”, so “C” could never have been harmed. This is a case of, at most, potential harm, had C been a real person.’
Despite the fact that the offence carries a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment on indictment, the Judge felt that the custody threshold had not been passed and our client received a Community Order.
Mr David Mason QC of No 5 Chambers was the barrister selected by Kangs Solicitors to represent our client at court.
Naturally, our client was extremely pleased that he had avoided a custodial sentence.
How Can We Help? | Kangs National Sexual Offence Solicitors
Please contact any of the below if you require any further advice or assistance: