The Sentencing Counsel has issued additional Definitive Guidelines to cover offences committed contrary to Section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (‘the Act’).

The issue of these Guidelines follows the recent case of Regina v. Privett & Others (2020) EWCA Crim. 557 in which Lord Justice Fulford confirmed that Section 14 of the Act is a ‘preparatory offence’ which does not depend on a child sex offence having been committed or even being possible.

Accordingly, cases involving adult proxies impersonating fictitious children whilst acting as ‘paedophile hunters’ fall to be considered to the extent that sentences imposed for offences under Section 14 will probably be longer than offences where actual physical harm has resulted.  

Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors considers the position.

Kangs Solicitors has a proven track record spanning more than twenty years successfully representing clients accused of the most serious sexual offences.

We have acted in many high-profile investigations such as the wide-ranging Metropolitan Police investigation, Operation Yew Tree.

If any of the topics raised in this article affect you then please do not hesitate to contact one of our team.  Kangs Solicitors has been recognised again as one of the leading criminal defence firms in this year’s legal directory, the Legal 500. 

For an initial no obligation discussion, please call our team at any of the offices detailed below:

The Law | Kangs Serious Crime Defence Solicitors

Section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 states:

“A person commits an offence if:

  • He intentionally arranges or facilitates something that he intends to do, intend another person to do, or believes that another person will do, in any part of the world and
  • Doing it will involve the commission of an offence under any of Sections 9 to 13”.

Section 14(4) states:

“A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable:

  • On summary conviction to imprisonment to a term not exceeding 6 months and a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;
  • On conviction or indictment imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years”.

Judicial Comment | Kangs Sexual Offences Defence Solicitors

  • Lord Justice Fulford also stated in the case of Privett that an offence under Section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is complete when the arrangements are made and, as such, the absence of a real victim does not reduce culpability. 
  • In the past a number of sentencing decisions, including Regina v. Buchannan (2015) and Regina v. Copley (2016) stated respectively:

“The absence of any physical contact is highly material to the sentence imposed: and as no harm was or could be done to a child, this should be reflected in a substantial discount from the sentence that would have been appropriate for the full offence”.

  • However, it is now clear that future court decisions will look at the harm intended as opposed to the potential harm that could have been caused.  Although the case of Privett referred specifically to offences under Section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act.  It may well be relevant to other offences under the Sexual Offences Act.

Who Can I Contact? | Kangs Sexual Offences Defence Solicitors

If you are facing accusations of any sexual offence of any nature, it is imperative that you seek expert legal advice immediately.

It is crucial that a solicitor is present at interview at any Police Station whether it is for an interview by appointment or under arrest.

If you need expert help and advice please do not hesitate to contact one of our team through:

Hamraj Kang
hkang@kangssolicitors.co.uk
07976 258171 | 020 7936 6396 | 0121 449 9888

Helen Holder
hholder@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396 

Suki Randhawa
srandhawa@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 07989 521210