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Client Wins Brighton Crown Court Indecent Exposure Case

Not guilty verdict - client exonerated
7 September, 2018
Sexual Offences
General Sexual Offences

Lead Lawyer

Case study summary

Our client was found not guilty of indecent exposure. The alleged victim was credible because she genuinely believed what she saw. Following sensitive and careful preparation from his specialist defence team, he was able to present a viable alternative account.

Case study

Our client was charged with indecent exposure under s.66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and tried at Brighton Crown Court. He was a young man who worked with children with special educational needs. He lived in a small village with his fiancée, just a few doors down from his parents. If convicted of the offence he faced the prospect of prison and a lifetime of being labelled as a sex offender, maybe even having to move away from his family.

Sadly he suffered from a genetic condition that was progressively affecting his mobility. One day, after walking home from work he desperately needed the toilet. He managed to get as far as his own front yard before he had to stop to urinate behind a tall hedge.

Unfortunately, a neighbour saw him from her first-floor kitchen window. She was shocked to see what she thought was him masturbating while watching her from behind the hedge. She had her phone in her hand and immediately began filming him. When he stopped what he was doing she stopped filming and called the police. Because it was a sexual allegation, they immediately sent out a team police officers to the scene.

Our client was shocked when he came downstairs from his shower to find four uniformed police officers standing in his living room. He was handcuffed and taken to the police station where he was interviewed with the local duty solicitor who had been called on his behalf by the police.

Sadly, he was given bad advice by the appointed solicitor who advised him to answer all of the questions the police asked him. This was his first time in a police station, he was anxious, stressed, and prone to saying things he didn’t necessarily mean. As a result, he did a particularly bad job in the interview. That bad performance made it likely that the CPS would feel they had an excuse to charge him.

Thankfully, his mother did her research and found our specialist sexual offence solicitors. She called for a free consultation and we saw the family, in person, the very next day. We heard about his genetic condition and how he sometimes needed the toilet at short notice. They also told us how he spent most of his time helping children with complex needs. We were disappointed to find out from them that he was now suspended and unable to work.

Our criminal lawyers immediately knew that his best chance of success was to have his trial at the Crown Court. We explained to him that the likelihood of being convicted at the Magistrate’s Court was significantly higher. He was initially worried about the risk of a harsher sentence but we explained to him that this was not likely. We also helped to ease his fears by walking him through each stage of the process.

As soon as we could we started to put pressure on the CPS to send us the recording taken by the neighbour. We watched the video and straight away we saw how his actions could be misinterpreted. Knowing that it wasn’t clear we went to visit his home address to do a site visit, and we took photographs of the area. We wanted the jury to know that it was virtually impossible to see from the kitchen window what someone was actually doing behind the hedge.

We then instructed an independent medical specialist to present information on his medical conditions. We also asked the client’s elderly mother to describe how it had affected both her and him.

We put together all of these ingredients for our client's defence in court. The jury quickly understood that this could all have been a mistake. Of course, it was clear what the witness thought she saw, but we were able to present a sensible and credible alternative. The jury gladly returned a unanimous Not Guilty verdict.

Following the trial, our client was able to return to work and family life, and to start planning his wedding to his fiancee, which he had put on hold during this nightmare.

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