There are several reasons why an innocent person could find himself or herself wrongly accused of sexual assault or rape. Possible scenarios include mistaken identity, misleading evidence, unintentional lying about the facts (where the complainant suffers from a mental illness, for example) and even intentional lying (where perhaps the accuser holds a personal grudge or has ulterior motives).
Being falsely accused of a any crime is undoubtedly distressing and the experience can have a large and lasting impact. This is especially true if an individual is defending allegations of rape or another sexual offence, as the identity of the accused is rarely protected in such cases. The prospect of court proceedings, penalties and the effect the ordeal may have on the professional and personal lives of those falsely accused of a sexual crime, as well as their families, only adds to the trauma.
A fundamental principle of the criminal law in this country is the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, that does not mean that legal proceedings will necessarily be smooth for an innocent party. In fact, it can be quite the opposite – the legal process and substantive law are not in a falsely accused’s favour.
Here we provide a brief guide on what to do (and what not to do) if falsely accused of rape or sexual assault. We will also discuss the approach to criminal defence where an individual faces trial at court based on incorrect charges.
Behaviour Following a False Accusation of Rape or Sexual Assault
Seek Legal Assistance
It is vital that individuals seek legal advice where false accusations have been made against them. This remains the case even where that person is entirely confident that they can prove their innocence. The criminal law and procedures that will apply differ depending on the facts of the case and the rules can be complex. A wrongfully accused person will be in the best position to defend against a false allegation of rape or sexual assault when represented by an experienced lawyer who has a deep understanding of the criminal justice system.
It is important that legal assistance is sought as soon as possible after the accusations are made, preferably before speaking to police officers, so advice can be given on how to avoid raising unnecessary suspicion and to prevent evidence being used against the accused in court.
At Tuckers, our team of highly qualified lawyers provide legal advice and representation to clients who believe they have been wrongly accused of rape or sexual assualt. We provide accurate and timely advice and ensure our clients’ rights are upheld throughout legal proceedings.
Avoid Raising Suspicion
It is not uncommon for people who have been falsely accused of a crime to try and take matters into their own hands in the hope of resolving the situation quickly and with minimal impact. This is especially common in cases where the complainant is known to the accused, for example, a neighbour, colleague or family member. In most circumstances, behaviour like this only makes matters worse for the wrongfully accused person, as there is a high risk that the stress and upset involved could cause them to act in a way that is damaging to their case. By way of example, it would be detrimental to their situation if someone who is falsely accused of stalking or assault were then verbally abusive or physically violent towards the complainant in reaction to false accusations.
Although it may seem impossible, it is very important for someone who is wrongly accused to remain calm in order to avoid aggravating their situation. This means, where possible, avoiding any interaction with other people who are involved in the investigation, including the complainant and any witnesses. Where contact with such people is unavoidable, it is recommended that a witness who is not involved in the case be present.
When facing false criminal accusations it is vital that evidence that could be used during the investigation is not interfered with. Hiding or destroying evidence that a wrongfully accused person believes could be incriminating will only raise suspicion and these actions are likely to be used to support the case against them.
It is recommended that a client consult their solicitor before taking any actions that could have a negative impact on the investigation.
False/Wrong Accusations of Rape,Sexual Assault or other Sexually Motivated Crimes – Criminal Defence
Where a wrongfully accused person faces trial before a court, we will closely examine the prosecution’s case with the purpose of establishing that one, or more, of the essential elements of the crime have not been proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Highly valuable evidence collected from police reports; witness and expert statements and any other relevant evidence may be used to demonstrate the fact that allegations are false, or in order to raise a defence. For instance, where someone is accused of assault, the defence may identify evidence in the police reports that prove it was a case of mistaken identity, or witness statements may demonstrate that the accused acted in self-defence.
Tuckers Professional Legal Advice and Criminal Defence
It can be distressing and feel very unjust to be wrongly accused of a sexual crime. Our experience in all matters of criminal defence, and our deep understanding of the impact that false accusations can have on both those wrongly accused and their families, means we are excellently placed to provide advice and representation in these cases.
The distress and confusion of legal proceedings can be significantly reduced if expert legal advice is sought at an early stage. At Tuckers Solicitors, our specialist criminal defence lawyers are ready to offer professional legal advice and representation from the initial police interview to proceedings at court.
We take a diligent approach to each case, carefully examining all the evidence and creating defence statements that will achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. With a genuine appreciation for the effect that being falsely accused can have, we always put our clients’ interests first.
Led by criminal defence lawyer Stuart Sutton, our Special Casework Team is made up of some of the best criminal defence lawyers in the UK. Well-known for their professionalism and expertise, as well as their client-focused approach, they are able to identify the available options to ensure the best possible outcome.
Contact Our Sexual Offences Defence Lawyers (Yorkshire, London, Birmingham, Manchester)
Our robust defence preparation, attention to detail and professional representation makes us the first choice for criminal defence. These key traits are essential to safeguarding the rights of our clients from allegations of criminal activity. We discuss all the available options in order to find and implement the best course of action.
Our expert sexual offence solicitors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to advise and assist. For more information, please contact Stuart Sutton on 07798 753 720 or get in touch via our online contact form.