Following the spate of heavily reported arrests and prosecutions involving celebrities charged with alleged historical sexual offences, a considerable period of time has lapsed without noticeable further activity, suggesting that the police are no longer seeking prosecutions under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 (‘the 1956 Act’).

It is now more common for alleged offences to be prosecuted under The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (‘the 2003 Act’). 

However, Kangs Solicitors has recently been instructed to defend an eighty years old male client who was arrested and charged with offences alleged to have occurred during the 1960’s suggesting that, where considered appropriate, the police are still prepared to prosecute under the 1956 Act.    

Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors comments upon the nature of and differences between the 1956 Act and the 2003 Act.

Kangs Solicitors has a proven track record of successfully representing clients accused of alleged criminal offences of a sexual nature and we were involved in the defence of high-profile cases of historic sexual abuse including the Metropolitan Police investigation ‘Operation Yewtree’.

We are recognised as one of the leading criminal defence firms in the country and we are highly ranked by the leading directories, Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500. The latest edition of the Legal 500 says the following about our firm:

‘The lawyers are all experts in crime and provide the highest levels of service to their clients. Their work is always top quality. One of, if not the best criminal specialist firms in the country’

We appreciate the strain and anxiety on individuals and their families when allegations of a sexual nature are made and we have the most experienced solicitors to assist in the face of such difficulties and pressures.

Our team of highly respected lawyers can be contacted for confidential and discreet advice as follows:

The Two Sexual Offences Acts | Kangs Sexual Offences Defence Team

The 1956 Act

The 1956 Act covers offences which occurred between 1st January 1956 and 1st May 2004.  Where there are practical difficulties or it is not possible to prove that the offence occurred before 1st May 2004, it may be possible to charge offences under both Acts.                

Certain offences are now time barred under the 1956 Act including: 

  • Section 6 – unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under sixteen,
  • Section 12 – buggery (subject to specific exception),
  • Section 13 – gross indecency.

The 2003 Act The most common prosecutions under the 2003 Act involve rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault and causing another to engage in sexual activity, where the Prosecution must, where necessary, prove an absence of consent.

In relation to these offences, a person is guilty of an offence where that person intentionally performs an act where the victim does not consent to that act and the offender does not reasonably believe that such consent was given.      


  • The 1956 Act does not provide any statutory definition of consent. 
  • The definition of consent is provided by section 74 of 2003 Act which is now also commonly used in prosecutions of historical offences when a Jury is being directed as to what constitutes ‘consent’. 
  • Under section 74 of the 2003 Act, consent exists where the alleged victim agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

Where the alleged offence(s) involves child(ren) under the age of thirteen years the Prosecution does not have to prove an absence of consent.   

Who Can I Contact for Advice & Help? | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors

If you are facing an investigation in respect of any allegation of a sexual offence of any nature, it is essential that you seek expert legal advice.

The team at Kangs Solicitors has many years’ experience defending clients facing sexual offences allegations of every conceivable nature.

We understand how difficult it can be for an accused person and their family to deal with such sensitive allegations which can have a huge impact on the lives of many people.

We provide clients with expert advice in simple easy to understand language and we will guide you using our considerable experience of defending criminal investigations throughout England & Wales.

We welcome new enquiries by telephone or email.

Our team of lawyers is available to meet at our offices in London, Birmingham or Manchester or, alternatively, we are happy to arrange an initial no obligation meeting via telephone or video conferencing.

If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our team through any of the following:

Hamraj Kang
07976 258171 | 020 7936 6396 | 0121 449 9888

Suki Randhawa
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396

Helen Holder
0121 449 9888 | 0161 817 5020