There has been a spate of cases in recent years relating to allegations of historical physical and sexual abuse.
A considerable number of high profile media personalities have been identified, arrested and prosecuted for alleged incidents that took place as long ago as the 1970s.
There appears to be a concerted push by police forces throughout the country to investigate allegations more diligently in the wake of the authority’s failure to investigate and prosecute allegations surrounding Jimmy Saville.
Defending Historical Sex and Physical Abuse Cases | Kangs Solicitors
We have been instructed in relation to high profile police investigations such as the Metropolitan Police investigation ‘Operation Yewtree’.
We have built up the expertise that is required to defend such cases.
The historical nature of many of the allegations means that specialist skills and experience are required in order to challenge the prosecution evidence and to uncover material that is of benefit to the defendant.
It is vitality important that the defence team of lawyers has the expertise and experience to ensure that the true picture is presented to the jury at a Crown Court trial.
This can involve painstaking work to expose evidence that is unreliable.
Occasionally, new evidence emerges after the original Crown Court trial has concluded and which has to be carefully examined on behalf of the client.
As recently reported, the conviction of a former firefighter has been overturned by the Court of Appeal Judges, Sir Brian Leveson, Mr Justice Singh and Mr Justice Holdate following new evidence relating to the credibility of the alleged victim.
The former firefighter was found guilty of buggery by a majority verdict in December 2013.
He was originally jailed for six years, but months later the sentence was increased to eight and a half years by Appeal Judges who stated that the original sentence was “unduly lenient”.
The offence was said to have been committed in the 1970`s when the alleged victim was a 14 year boy.
However, the offence was only reported by him in 2012 “after being motivated to come forward in the aftermath of the Jimmy Saville affair”
Mr Justice Singh said that the fresh material before the Court included information that:
“…over a period from 2000 to 2010 the complainant in the case had to seek medical attention from his GP in relation to what can only be described as his being a chronic liar”
Clearly, consideration of the alleged victim’s credibility was vital as part of the Jury`s task of resolving the conflict in the evidence between the parties.
Mr Justice Singh announced the decision to quash the conviction and said:
“Finally, we regret that these matters did not come to light earlier and that the appellant, a man of good character, has suffered the consequences that he has.”
The retired firefighter outside court said:
“We refused to be broken by this injustice which robbed me of my liberty and destroyed my reputation.
While today is a victory and I am once again free, there are serious questions about how allegations of historic sexual abuse are investigated and dealt with.
What happened to me must never be allowed to happen again. Being wrongly imprisoned as an innocent man is a living hell and something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.”
The Future of Historical Sex and Physical Abuse Cases
It is clear that the above case demonstrates the efforts that need to be made to ensure that the defendant has a fair trial. It is vital that the defence team search for and obtain all information that is material to the defence case.
The momentum is still with the prosecuting authorities and there does not appear to be any real slowdown in cases of a historical nature being investigated and prosecuted.
At Kangs Solicitors we are currently engaged in assisting a number of clients defend such historical allegations. We appreciate it is a traumatic time for the accused and their families when allegations dating back some 40 years suddenly materialise.
It is important that early and effective advice is sought by anyone who is accused of such an offence to ensure that evidence that could well assist the accused is preserved safely.
We are happy to assist clients at all stages of such investigations.
Clients are often referred to us by our fellow professionals due to our specialist knowledge and skill in defending cases of this nature.
We are available to meet you at our offices in Birmingham, London and Manchester.