Those Facing Indecent Images Charges Could Take Course Instead of Facing Prosecution

July 5, 2019

A prominent thinktank, Justice, has suggested that those facing charges relating to indecent images should take an educational course before a decision is made about prosecution. The idea behind the course is to allow those with no previous criminal record an alternative to prosecution and to alleviate the strain on the justice system for prosecuting sexual offence allegations. If the individual in question fails to complete the course, they would then be prosecuted.

Justice made 57 recommendations around prosecuting sexual offences with this particular measure being unveiled in London earlier this month. There has been a dramatic rise in the number of allegations of sexual offences in recent years, which has drawn attention to the complex nature of prosecuting sexual offences.

Justice’s working party is chaired by HH Peter Rook Q, who is a former Old Bailey judge and presided over some of the UK’s most well-known sex cases. He presided over the case involving convicted paedophile Richard Huckle and the Oxford child sex grooming ring. The working party considered how sexual offences might be prosecuted more effectively. The group also took steps to identify and address sexual offending and what causes it in order to offer solutions and prevent reoffending.

HH Rook QC said:

 ‘We have sought to identify areas where greater efficiency can be achieved without in any way eroding a fair trial. We found that there is substantial scope for alleviating the pressures upon the criminal justice system by improving our response to sexual offending and treatment of those it has harmed.’

Further measures included requiring internet companies to report to Companies House the actions they are taking to stop sexual offences happening on the platforms they have built.

It was also recommended that police video-recorded interviews should be modified to fit the needs of vulnerable witnesses. This includes taking factors such as location, questioning and structure into account. This could be facilitated by holding a dedicated hearing to assess the needs of complainants who will be giving evidence, with pre-recorded evidence to be available in all sexual offence cases.

Director of Justice, Andrea Coomber, said: 

‘At a time where sexual offence allegations are putting the criminal justice system under increased strain and causing distress to victims, it is particularly important to not only ensure that procedures are efficient but also to identify ways to stop sexual offending occurring in the first place. This report highlights the need for a holistic approach to sexual offences that encompasses education, prevention and effective rehabilitation.’

What Will the Course for Indecent Images Consist Of?

The campaign group has suggested that those arrested for viewing indecent images of children who do not have a criminal record should participate “life skills” courses rather than face prosecution, but how will this work in practice, and what will these courses consist of?

Justice stated it was essential to “identify ways to stop sexual offending occurring in the first place” with the group’s group’s director, Andrea Coomber, calling for a “holistic approach” which should include “education, prevention and effective rehabilitation”.

The scheme proposed by Justice would be only for first-time offenders or those with no previous criminal record. Those facing allegations relating to indecent image offences would be required to participate in five’ life skills’ sessions over the course of four months, and then attend a further follow-up session eight months later. The purpose of the sessions is to “educate and assist” as opposed to “shame and punish”. The sessions will include guidance on how to build strategies to manage impulses and participate in safe internet behaviour.

A spokeswoman for the government outlined it was already the case that several viewers of indecent images avoided prosecution. She said:

“Those who view, but don’t create or share, such images and so pose a low risk to children can already be given cautions with tough conditions attached by the police if prosecutors agree,”

“These [conditions] require them to complete a programme to tackle the root causes of their behaviour, which helps reduce reoffending and keep the public safe.”

If you have been accused of taking, possessing, making or sharing indecent images of a person under the age of 18, it is understandable that you will have some questions about the law. We have created a guide to the law on indecent images to help you understand the law and process of facing such charges. Richard Egan is a specialist criminal defence solicitor with many years of experience in assisting clients in building an excellent defence strategy under challenging circumstances. Richard understands how difficult this time may be for you, and will work with you to guide you through the process and give you the best possible chance of securing a successful outcome.

For in-depth and comprehensive legal advice from an experienced criminal defence solicitor, get in touch today. If you are facing severe charges, there is no time to delay, get the specialist legal advice and assistance you need now.

Contact Richard Egan of Tuckers Solicitors, Child Sex Offence Defence Lawyer (London, Birmingham, Manchester & Leeds)

If you need advice or assistance with indecent images offences, professional tribunal representation or child sex offences, Richard Egan can help.

In-depth defence preparation, attention to detail and professional representation makes Richard Egan the best choice for criminal defence.

These elements are essential to safeguarding the rights of our clients from allegations of criminal activity. We discuss all the available options to find and implement the best defence strategy for you. Our expert sexual offence solicitors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready to advise and assist you. For more information, please contact Richard Egan on 02033895072 .