Sexual Offences committed
outside of the UK
The Sexual Offences Act 2003
Paragraph 72 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (‘the Act’) provides for the prosecution of UK nationals and residents who have committed certain sexual offences abroad, by stating:
- If a UK national does an act in a country outside the UK and the act, if done in England and Wales, would constitute a sexual offence to which this section applies, the UK national is guilty in England and Wales of that sexual offence;
- If a UK resident does an act in a country outside the UK, the act constitutes an offence under the law in force in that country and the act, if done in England and Wales, would constitute a sexual offence to which this section applies, the UK resident is guilty in England and Wales of that sexual offence.
- If a person does an act in a country outside the UK at a time when the person was not a UK national or resident, the act constituted an offence under the law in force in that country, the act if done in England and Wales would have constituted a sexual offence to which this section applies and the person meets the residence or nationality condition at the relevant time, proceedings may be brought against the person in England and Wales for that sexual offence as if the person had done the act there.
- The person meets the residence or nationality condition at the relevant time if the person is a UK national or a UK resident at the time when the proceedings are brought.
Got a question?
- Schedule 2 lists the sexual offences to which section 72 applies. Until recently it predominantly identified offences against children under the age of 18 and offences involving indecent photographs of children.
- The law was extended to cover adult complainants on 29 June 2021 as the definition of ‘victim’ for the purposes of section 72 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 was extended to include individuals who were aged 18 or over at the time of the allegation.
- The general rule is that allegations should be tried in the jurisdiction in which they occurred and it is still rare for such matters to be prosecuted in the England & Wales. But the law does allow for such prosecutions in England & Wales and KANGS has defended clients in such proceedings.
- There is no requirement for the crime to be an offence in both countries.
The team at KANGS has significant expertise in defending allegations with an international dimension. We are well versed in collating evidence from abroad, engaging relevant experts in foreign jurisdictions and ensuring all evidence gathered overseas is admissible in court proceedings in England & Wales.
By way of one example, KANGS were instructed in the conduct of the first ever trial in the UK involving alleged offences of the nature referred to above committed in Kenya.
Members of the Kangs Sexual Criminal Offences Defence Team travelled on two separate occasions to Kenya to conduct relevant defence enquiries and to arrange for defence witnesses based in Kenya to give live evidence to the Crown Court in England.
It is imperative that you instruct an experienced solicitor as soon as you become aware of an allegation being made. Crucially, it is essential to have a solicitor present in interview at the police station, whether it is an interview by appointment or under arrest, in order to ensure that the appropriate experience and advice is at hand.
To discuss an allegation of a sexual offence of any nature please contact us.