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Serious Sexual Offences

36 Crime members have especial expertise in this highly specialised area of law.  They have extensive experience of prosecuting and defending allegations involving serious sexual offending. Many of our criminal law practitioners specialise in this area and some practice almost exclusively in it.

Members of the team all have up-to-date knowledge of issues in expert evidence, the use of Intermediaries, the preparation of young and vulnerable witnesses for trial, and the preparation of summaries and edited versions of taped evidence so as to lighten the burden of trial whilst still dealing comprehensively with the essential issues in the trial.

We have practitioners who specialise in dealing with very young witnesses, those with learning disabilities or mental and physical disabilities. We work regularly with witnesses with autism. In addition this work also involves considered care of elderly accused with dementia, Alzheimer's disease and other mental or physical infirmities.

The strength in depth of the team is illustrated by the fact that 21 junior members are included on the CPS list of Specialist Rape Advocates.

Recent cases include

  • Serial rapists
  • Historical rape and sexual abuse
  • Sexual (and related non-sexual) abuse of children
  • Gang rape
  • Cases involving multiple complainants and breach of trust particularly involving people in positions of trust such as teachers, social workers, priests, carers and foster carers
  • Sex trafficking cases
  • Grooming and sexual exploitation
  • Child pornography
  • Extreme pornography
  • Child prostitution
  • Offending arising from human trafficking and/or modern slavery
  • Sexual violence where the act also involves extreme violence or torture
  • All computerised offending, including offences by persons operating on the ‘Dark Web’ (described by a former head of GCHQ as a haven for “the worst aspects of human nature”).

Several members are accredited facilitators for the current vulnerable witness training course and all members who deal with this work have completed the required vulnerable witness training course.

We lecture and give seminars on general and specific areas of sexual offending, several  write articles, give advice, and provide radio and television interviews. Members assist on a variety of working parties, concerned with designing questioning procedures for witnesses and on the creation of new criminal offences.

Several members of the team sit as part time Crown Court Judges and have undertaken specialist training in order to deal with defendants being tried for serious sexual offences

Notable Cases

  • 2018 - Rebecca Herbert successfully prosecuted a serving firearms officer with the Leicestershire police, who stood trial accused of serious sex offences against a young woman. The jury unanimously convicted him and he was sentenced to 7 years
  • 2018 - Rebecca Herbert secured conviction of D charged with historic sexual offences against children in care - sentence 17 years
  • 2018 - Rebecca Herbert secured acquittal of young university graduate accused of rape by his ex girlfriend
  • 2018 - Sarah Knight secured an 18 year jail sentence for man convicted of raping a 4 year old child & continuing those attacks over a 2 year period
  • 2018 - Rebecca Herbert secured conviction of female social worker found guilty of historic sex offences against a 15 yo boy in her care. She was sentenced to 30 months
  • 2018 – James Armstrong-Holmes successfully defends carer accused of sexually abusing man with cerebral palsy
  • 2018 - Rebecca Herbert secured  22 year sentence against a  female carer convicted of "horrific" sexual abuse of two young boys
  • 2018 - Katya Saudek, working with her solicitor,  uncovered 233 pages of missing messages which cleared a 17 year old school boy of rape. He was arrested in 2016 aged just 15
  • 2018 -  Nicola Moore - Defence of a mentally impaired man charged with historical offending when he was just 12 years of age against his sister and brother aged 8 and 6 with very particular difficulties
  • 2018 - Nicola Moore - Prosecution of men involved in the trafficking of vulnerable 14 year olds for sexual exploitation who were removed from a children’s home
  • 2018 - Nicola Moore - Successful defence of woman charged with sexual abuse of her children who had featured in a television documentary decrying the Jehovah’s witnesses as condoning sexual abuse of children
  • 2018 - Julie Warburton - Historic rape and sexual abuse in domestic environment involving violent and controlling behaviour over a number of years during the currency of the relationship, including rape of his wife immediately following a Caesarian section. Convicted and sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment.
  • 2018 - Julie Warburton -historic rape and sexual abuse of his step-daughter on a regular basis when she as aged between 8 and 15 years. Sentenced as an offender of particular concern to a total of 16 years’ imprisonment.
  • 2018 - Julie Warburton - Secured acquittal for 18 year old charged with domestic abuse and rape of his girlfriend having uncovered material previously undisclosed by the Prosecution. This prompted a complete review of the case and a decision by the Prosecution not to proceed in light of the material significantly undermining the Prosecution case.
  • 2018 - Julie Warburton - Secured acquittal for asylum seeker accused of sexually assaulting a male student, the two having met during a night out in Leicester city centre. Careful analysis of CCTV and telephone evidence revealed relevant material which was used to undermine the Complainant’s account in cross examination
  • 2018 - Sarah Knight - prosecuting profoundly deaf and partially blind professional masseur committing serious sexual assault on a client
  • 2018 – Sarah Knight - prosecuting teenage boy for anally raping a young girl.
  • 2018 - Sarah Knight - prosecuting  father for repeatedly raping his infant daughter during overnight contact with him
  • 2018- Sarah Knight - prosecuting young man for serious sexual assaults on two members of his own family (male and female) and serial rape of a young girl.
  • 2018 - Sarah Knight - prosecuting historic abuse by social worker committing serious sexual assault on young girls in children’s homes.
  • 2018 - Sarah Knight - R v Martin - prosecuting karate instructor for rape and serious sexual assault of three young boys
  • 2018 - Grace Hale - prosecuted a police officer for offences of misconduct in public office for improper use of the details of several women who were vulnerable victims of crime. He met them, established a rapport with them and secured their trust. He later contacted them and engaged in sexual chats that included sending intimate photographs of himself. His objective was sexual gratification and he succeeded in establishing a sexual relationship with some of the women
  • 2017/18 - Grace Hale - Operation Redstone, a large scale police investigation into sexual abuse by clergymen and officials within the Diocese of Lincoln, Grace Hale prosecuted a former clergyman and the Director of Education for historic sexual abuse of young underaged females between 1955 to 1982. Grace Hale also prosecuted the Cathedral school choir master and boarding house master who pleaded guilty on the first day of trial to multiple historic sexual offences against various choristers aged between 7 to 13 in the 1960s
  • 2017 - Claire Fraser Claire appeared for the first defendant in this six month, multi handed trial alleging rape and sexual exploitation of children in Oxford, over a number of years. Claire represented the same defendant in Operation Sabaton below. Received national press coverage.
  • 2016 - Claire Fraser represented the first defendant in this four month, multi handed trial alleging multiple counts of threats to kill, rape and child sexual exploitation of vulnerable complainants (Bullfinch 2). On completion of this trial the defendant was charged with further offences on new complainants and requested that Claire represent him again, which she did, in Operation Silk above. Received national press coverage.
  • 2016/17 – Mary Prior QC - Operation Daybreak. Instructed by the Complex Case Unit to prosecute the sexual abuse of children in Nottinghamshire Children’s homes by social workers and staff.

Related Areas of Practice

CRIME