Whilst false allegations are often reported shortly after the alleged incident, we are seeing many more of our clients being investigated for offences that took place a number of years ago, known as “historical sexual offences”.
There are many scenarios and motives from those making false allegations which are more common than you would think.
The Complainant (this person is not referred to as the victim unless the accused has been convicted of an offence) may come forward many years later to make an allegation for numerous reasons and motives. Regardless of the passage of time the Police will take the complaint seriously and commence an investigation.
Those subject to a false allegation should feel confident that the Police will spend as long collating evidence in support of the accused as they will in obtaining evidence to support a charge.
However, in our experience this is rarely the case. This can result in the accused becoming more and more frustrated, with a prolonged period of uncertainty and a sense of unfairness in how they are being treated.
It is important that you act quickly, and get an experienced lawyer with the right expertise to represent you as soon as possible. Your primary need is to avoid an arrest if you can. Any arrest on one’s record, even if you are not ultimately convicted, can cause problems with travel, with your employer, or for those studying for a variety of careers.
There is a huge misconception as to what your representative or duty solicitor can do in relation to a publicly funded case (legal aid). Cover is restricted, as it extends only to legal advice given at the police station. In almost all cases, funding is provided as a “one size fits all” fixed fee. It does not matter how much work needs to be done, how high profile your case is, how long the representative remains with you or how many times you are required to attend the station. As a result, the idea that your publicly funded duty solicitor/representative will be actively working on your behalf behind the scenes is extremely unlikely as they will not be funded for this work.
In addition, your representative may not necessarily be a qualified solicitor. Even if they are a solicitor, they may not have the specialist knowledge and experience required for your particular case.
What To Do If You Are Subject To A False Allegation Of Sexual Assault
1) Seek specialist legal advice at an early stage
It is crucial that you seek specialist legal representation at the earliest opportunity in order that you can obtain quality, confidential advice in relation to what is likely to happen next and any action that you should take.
Whilst you will be entitled to free representation in the police station by a duty solicitor, you may decide that is not the level of service you need. You should decide if you require a more experienced specialist solicitor to be with you in the interview and who can take steps on your behalf prior to your arrest.
2) Arrange a voluntary interview
If at all possible you should arrange to speak to the Police voluntarily without them arresting you.
With sexual assault allegations, it is possible that the Police may attend your home or workplace to arrest you. If you are aware that the Police wish to speak to you, you should contact specialist solicitors as soon as possible.
Unlike other solicitors, we take pre-emptive action on behalf of our clients and will liaise with the Police on your behalf in order to arrange for you to be interviewed at a convenient time without an arrest being made if possible.
An arrest can have far-reaching repercussions in relation to your career, travel and even volunteer work. We also endeavour to obtain disclosure from the Police prior to your interview in order that we can discuss that with you and thoroughly prepare you for that interview.
3) Avoid charge
Following your interview, the Police enquiry is likely to take many months. At the end of their enquiries most cases are sent to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision as to whether or not to charge the individual.
Unlike other solicitors, we are proactive at this early stage. We conduct our own investigations and start structuring your defence case from the outset.
If appropriate, we will provide further information to the Police during their investigation and comprehensive written representations to the Crown Prosecution Service, setting out why you should not be charged.
4) Dealing with others
We are experienced in representing high profile clients and with the media interest this brings. We always advise our clients not to speak to the media at all without liaising with us first.
Due to the nature of these allegations there may be issues with your employment. We often work alongside employment solicitors dealing with issues that arise.
If you have children, it is likely that social services may wish to speak to you and your family. We have a family law department who can assist you with any interviews social services may wish to have with you or with any issues which may arise in relation to your children.
If the Police decide not to proceed with the matter, we will look at whether you have any grounds to make a complaint. Unfortunately, just because a police investigation concludes with no further action, it does not necessarily mean it is the end of the matter. There may be ongoing issues with your employment or ability to travel to certain countries caused by the arrest appearing on your record. We can take steps where appropriate to have the arrest removed from your record. Many other solicitors do not do this.
Contact Monan Gozzett
At Monan Gozzett we have over 30 years handling the most complex and high-profile criminal cases. For false allegation cases within this field, we frequently work with the country’s leading Queen’s Counsel. We have experience representing high profile, high net worth clients both nationally and internationally. Our experience means that we know what to do and when to do it to ensure the best outcome for you. We purposely limit the number of cases we undertake to provide the level of investment and individual attention our clients deserve and need.
We always invest our time free of charge in an initial call with you in order to assess whether we are right for you. Only then will we discuss and agree on a tailored fee proposal with you for our services.
Call us today on 0207 936 6329 or complete our Contact Form and we will call you back.