Forrest Williams are a specialist firm of sexual assault defence solicitors. We are a Legal 500 ranked law firm, offering privately-funded, bespoke services throughout England and Wales.
We specialise in helping clients whose cases are too important to be left to the government funded and controlled Legal Aid. Our bespoke services allow us to undertake the work required to get you the best outcome.
Sexual assault is an offence under section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. It is triable either way, meaning it may be heard in the magistrates court or Crown Court.
The prosecution must prove the following:
- intentional touching;
- which is sexual;
- to which the complainant did not consent; and
- the defendant did not reasonably believe that the complainant was consenting
If any of the above factors are not present, you should plead not guilty. For example, touching of a patient’s breasts by a doctor is usually not sexual assault as the touching is not sexual and is with the patient’s consent.
The usual key issues for cases of sexual assault are sexual intent and consent, and these will need to be considered in detail before you are advised on plea. Where arguing consent, you will be required to consider the steps you had taken to judge consent, and these steps will help determine how reasonable your belief of consent was.
Generally, this charge should be made for incidents not serious enough to be charged as rape or assault by penetration, and the touching can be with any part of the body, with anything else, through anything. Touching of clothes can be sufficient.
Maximum sentence: 10 years’ imprisonment
Offence range: community order – seven years