At some point in your career, you may find yourself with an investigation looming.
Maybe you’ve been told that you are going to be interviewed by the service police? Or you have been interviewed and now you’re awaiting a decision? Or perhaps you have been charged and now awaiting a court martial date?
Whilst all stages of this process are stressful, we can assist you at any point of your proceedings.
You may have seen in the news that there was a recent study regarding women in the military. A recent study stated that of 750 women some 22.5% said they had been sexually harassed, whilst 5.1% recalled being sexually assaulted. The Ministry of Defence responded to this report by saying “all allegations are taken very seriously, with unlawful behaviour investigated by the relevant police service as necessary.”
Whilst these statistics are shocking, it is becoming more necessary to ensure you have the right representation from the beginning when facing allegations of this nature.
Quite often an individual with no previous experience of the criminal justice system will be investigated and interviewed by the service police. This can be a harrowing experience and it may feel like you have no-where to turn. It is only after the initial interview that you will have time to properly reflect, at a time you are still feeling terrified.
I have come across many cases whereby the defendant was unrepresented at the police station as they felt that by asking for a solicitor it made them “look guilty”. On every occasion they have informed me that upon reflection they would have made a decision to instruct a solicitor at the start. Any sexual allegation can have the ability to tarnish a defendant’s life. Even if they are acquitted after trial or a case discontinued at the investigation stage, it can still have ramifications.
During 2020 the Service Police initiated a total of 161 investigations into sexual offences. This involved 150 suspects; 140 male and 4 female with 6 unspecified suspects, and 180 victims; 36 male and 137 female with 7 unspecified.
It is important you instruct a solicitor to assist with every aspect of your case. It can be an incredibly daunting time for you and it is imperative that your best interests are protected. No one expects you to be legally trained, and be able to navigate the process alone. At Reeds we take a proactive approach to ensure the service prosecution bring their case properly. We understand any allegation of this nature can be embarrassing to discuss and will quite often intrude on the most private areas of your life. We ensure that you feel confident in our abilities and you trust us to look after you.
We have dealt with a range of offences of all different levels of sexual assault. Below are three case highlights reflecting offences of this nature including one within a court martial setting.
R v C (2018) – Sexual Offences and Indecent Images Charges
Litigated on behalf of a client charged with sexual offences against his step daughter, possession of indecent images of children and breach of notification requirements. We managed to obtain an expert report which undermined the indecent images evidence meaning those counts were dropped before the trial, Zoe drafted an application to exclude his bad character and he was acquitted of all counts after trial.
R v F (2020) – Historical Sexual Abuse Allegations
Litigated on behalf of client who was facing a 4-count indictment for historic sexual abuse dating back to 2002. Acquitted of all counts after a 5-day trial before Cambridge Crown Court.
R v B (2021) Court Martial Matter of Sexual Assault
Litigated on behalf of a client facing two charges of sexual assault against a fellow student during his phase one training. On the day of trial negotiated a plea deal which meant the sexual assault charges were replaced with being drunk and disorderly. The defendant never accepted any sexual touching and as a result of this outcome was able to continue his training within the forces.
Zoe Heron is a Chartered Legal Executive Advocate based in Luton who specialises in Court Martial cases. She has a wealth of experience representing clients who find themselves accused of a range of offences within court martial such as assault, sexual related offences and fraud. Zoe also has over a 12 years experience with respect of criminal litigation, dealing with all types of offences ranging from murder to common assault and much more.