Sexual Harm Prevention Orders (SHPO) | Landmark Case Bans Use of AI Tools

Sexual Harm Prevention Orders (SHPO) | Landmark Case Bans Use of AI Tools

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced Sexual Harm Preventions Orders (a ‘SHPO’), to replace Sexual Offences Prevention Orders. A SHPO aims to protect the public from sexual harm by restricting the activities of the person against whom they are issued. For example, prohibiting the downloading of indecent images of children or access to the internet.

A SHPO will frequently be imposed against an offender convicted of an online sexual offence involving children.

In a recent UK case, a sex offender was made subject to a SHPO which contained a prohibition against using Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools for a period of five years.

Amandeep Murria of KANGS Solicitors comments upon the relevant law and this landmark case.

The Relevant Law

A SHPO can be made against any offender convicted or cautioned in respect of offences scheduled in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as follows:

Schedule 3

An extensive list of sexual offences includes:

  • rape
  • sexual assault
  • indecent assault
  • inciting incestuous sexual intercourse
  • possession/distribution of indecent images.

Schedule 5

Non-sexual offences include:

  • murder
  • manslaughter
  • kidnapping
  • false imprisonment
  • threats to kill.

The Case in Focus

It was discovered that the defendant was in possession of at least one thousand indecent images of children.

As part of the SHPO imposed upon the offender, he was ordered not to use, visit, or access AI generation tools, without the prior permission of Police.

The banned AI tools include, for instance, text-to-image generators, which can produce lifelike pictures based on a written command, and ‘nudifying’ websites used to make explicit ‘deepfakes’.

This is the first time a UK Sentencing Court has imposed a prohibition on accessing AI tools.

Imposition of a SHPO

A SHPO is often imposed at the same time a convicted person is sentenced in respect of the crime committed. However, it may be the case that it will not be imposed until a later date, such as when the offender is released from prison to protect the public from re-offending.
The period of time for which the SHPO is imposed will be dependent upon the seriousness of the offence.

Imposed obligations may be comprehensive and include:

  • reporting to the Police,
  • restrictions from contacting specified persons,
  • prohibition from visiting particular locations,
  • use of technology such as computers and mobile phones.

Consequences following Breach of a SHPO

Breaching the terms of a SHPO is a serious offence which may result in criminal charges. As an ‘either way’ offence, such breach may be tried in the Magistrates’ Court or a Crown Court.

Conviction in the Magistrates’ Court may result in a fine, imprisonment for a term not exceeding the general limit in a Magistrates’ Court or both.

Conviction in the Crown Court may result in imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.

How Can We Help?

The Government recently announced it will be illegal to make sexually explicit ‘deepfakes’ of anyone aged over eighteen without consent and that a new offence will be introduced in due course.

Accordingly, it is clear that the development of SHPOs is ongoing, necessitating the need to be vigilant to the development of the law as it occurs. The Team at KANGS, as a matter of course remains alert to variations in the law whether resulting from Statute or Case Law.

It is imperative that anybody accused of criminal conduct of any nature, including any sexual offence, should seek immediate professional guidance and legal advice.

The Team at KANGS appreciates the strain on individuals and their families when facing allegations of a sexual nature, and we are here to assist you to alleviate such difficulties and pressures.

Tel:       0333 370 4333

Email: info@kangssolicitors.co.uk

We provide initial no obligation discussion at our three offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Alternatively, discussions can be held through live conferencing or telephone.

Helen Holder

Helen Holder

Email Phone
Sukhdip Randhawa

Sukhdip Randhawa
Legal Director

Email Phone
Criminal Litigation
The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (‘the Act’) was established to provide a legal framework governing the use of controlled drugs and substances, provides: ‘It shall be the duty of the Advisory Council to keep under review the situation in the United Kingdom with respect to drugs which are being or appear to them likely […]
Criminal Litigation
In a previous article we focused upon section 1 & 31 of Part 1 of The National Security Act 2023 (‘the Act’) which is designed to counter the ever-changing security threat to the United Kingdom. In this article, John Veale outlines section 2 of Part 1 of the Act which deals with the offence of […]
Criminal Litigation, DBS
The process known as ‘rehabilitation’ involves restoring someone to normal life following situations such as imprisonment. On 28 October 2023, The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Court Act 2022 (‘the Act’) introduced changes to the rehabilitation period for people with a criminal record, following lobbying by various charities, such as Unlock and Transform Justice. The Act […]

Get in touch

Need legal assistance? Contact our experienced team for prompt and professional support.
Old map of Birmingham