Historic sexual offences
“Historic sexual offences” refers to offences committed in the past, often many years earlier. If a person is being investigated for historic sex offences this can progress into a very serious situation with the risk of a custodial sentence being possible.
Historic Sexual Offences FAQ
In recent years there has been an increase in such prosecutions with more victims coming forward to recount alleged experiences especially in light of recent high profile investigations such as the Jimmy Savile case and the operation Yewtree cases.
Typically in historic sexual offences, there is no physical evidence in existence any more, and the cases often rely on the credibility of the testimony of witnesses.
In Scottish Law, the prosecution will often lead the evidence of additional complainers who tell a similar story to strengthen their case against an accused. This is known as the Moorov doctrine or the doctrine of mutual corroboration.
The Law and Admissibility of Evidence
The current law is governed by the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, but there is a fundamental principle that the law is not applied retrospectively. This means that the charges brought against you will be based on the law at the time of the alleged offence, and your representation needs to be experts on both the current and historic law.
The cases are often complex, particularly when the historical sex abuse allegations are related to an offence many years ago. The alleged offences are likely to have taken place in private with no witnesses and no charges brought at the time. A feature of Scots law is the need for corroboration, which presents a hurdle for prosecutors to overcome. If accused of a number of historic sexual offences and the prosecution believes there is sufficient evidence, the doctrine of mutual corroboration may be argued. It means that several historic sexual offences witnessed by only one person can be grouped together to show a pattern of behaviour and then could be used in a court case. The doctrine is complex in practice, so it is essential to have experienced legal representation to defend this form of “mutual corroboration”.
The credibility of the defendant and complainant is likely to be a key factor in any case.
Contact our historical sexual offences lawyers in Glasgow, Kilmarnock Scotland
There has been an increase in the prosecutions for historic sexual offences with seemingly more alleged victims coming forward. If you have been accused of a historic sex offence, then do not hesitate to contact our specialist team of dedicated historic sex offences lawyers. You may be entitled to legal aid for court appearances and trial, we can talk you through your options.