If an adult either meets or communicates with a child under 16 via the internet, phone or text message they could be accused of grooming. This can happen even if what the adult has said or sent to the child wasn’t sexual. If the adult then meets the child to engage in sex, the adult can be charged with a separate sexual offence – potentially sexual activity with a child or even rape.
Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, meeting a child after grooming is a specific offence in relation to children which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
In a prosecution for grooming where there is “no substantive sexual offence”, the court will take into consideration the intentions of the accused person. That means the seriousness of the intended offence and the level of risk to the alleged victim.
Other factors included in judging the seriousness of an alleged offence include the degree of fear and physical injury claimed by the alleged victim, the level of planning used by the accused person, the sophistication of the grooming, how allegedly determined the accused was, did they achieve their intention and what physical or mental injury the alleged victim experienced. So-called aggravating factors in a case can include intimidation or coercion, use of drugs and alcohol, existence of a sexually transmitted infection or whether the alleged victim was abducted or detained.
With sexual offences law being both complex and challenging it is vital to have a highly experienced legal team on your side to advise and represent you.
If you are found guilty of a grooming offence, the court can impose both a prison sentence and what is called an ancillary order.
Ancillary orders related to a grooming conviction could include notification, which means signing the sex offenders register and being subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which places restrictions on the person such as not approaching or associating with children.
Any breach of an order can result in a prison sentence of up to five years.
If you are accused of grooming, this puts extraordinary pressure on your career, reputation and relationships. Therefore, it is important to have the support of a legal specialist.
Nick Freeman is quite possibly the most famous criminal solicitor practising in the Country today. Dubbed by the media as “Mr Loophole” his reputation rose as an expert road traffic lawyer through his client list of famous sports personalities and celebrities.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg for Nick and his team of highly experienced criminal solicitors. Freeman & Co. have successfully represented people charged with a wide range of criminal offences ranging from assault to fraud, from rape to theft.
Nick has a singular mind to all his cases and challenging the details of every case is an ethos that pervades Freeman & Co. as a whole.
From the first police station interview to fighting your case through the courts, Freeman & Co. provide seamless representation and dedicated client care that is second to none.
Being charged with a criminal offence of any kind will be a daunting experience. Freeman & Co. are a specialist from of criminal solicitors who understand their clients’ needs and the overwhelming need to get the best possible result in all the circumstances.
If you are, a family member to friend have been charged with a criminal offence you can call Freeman & Co. today on 0161 236 7007. You can also send us a confidential email by clicking here.
We look forward to hearing from you.