Jordan Trengove was a typical 18-year-old enjoying a night out with friends on 9 March 2019. He had no idea at the time that his life was about to change forever, thanks to being falsely accused of rape. The false accusations were made against him by Eleanor Williams, who in early January 2023 was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by telling “malevolent” lies about being trafficked by an Asian grooming gang and making false rape allegations against a series of men, including Mr Trengove.
Mr Trengove recently spoke to The Guardian about the high price he had paid after being falsely accused of rape. He spent 10 weeks in prison on remand and had the word ‘rapist’ painted on the side of his house. He now suffers from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his imprisonment and has at times been suicidal.
Being falsely accused of rape or sexual assault can launch men into a nightmare of trial by social media, being shunned by their community, and seemingly endless police interrogations. It is one of the most serious allegations you can face and you must take it seriously. You may believe that if you tell your side of the story, the police will contritely understand, and send you off with an apology for taking up your time. This is seldom the case, and people can be subject to protracted investigations for many months. It is vital you instruct an experienced Sexual Offences Solicitor before you speak to the police. You have a right to legal representation at the police station and you must secure expert legal advice and representation as soon as you can. Often putting forward your defence, clearly and accurately early on in the investigation will lead to investigations going no further, solicitors specialising in sexual offences can assist in that process.
Reeds Solicitors is an award winning and leading top-tier criminal defence firm. For legal advice and representation, please contact us through our contact page here. Alternatively, you can phone 0333 240 7373, or email us at email@example.com.
What is rape?
Rape is defined in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, section 1 as:
- A person (A) commits an offence if—
(a) he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis,
(b) B does not consent to the penetration, and
(c) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
(2) Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents.
What happens if someone makes a False allegation of rape against me?
The first notice you may receive that someone has accused you of rape is a knock on your door or workplace by the police. Officers will act quickly once they receive a rape allegation as they need to mitigate the risk of evidence being disposed of or the accused fleeing into hiding.
You will be asked to accompany the officers to the police station where they will interview you under caution:
“You do not have to say anything. But, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”
Never, ever answer questions in an interview under caution without having an experienced Rape Defence Solicitor present.
In most cases, the police can only hold you for up to 24 hours before they must either charge you with a crime or release you. This can be extended to 36 or 96 hours for accusations involving serious crimes such as rape.
If the police do not have enough evidence to charge you but want to continue to investigate the allegations, they can release you on pre-charge bail which is likely to be given with certain conditions attached, for example, you cannot travel overseas without telling the police.
If you are released on pre-charge bail you must comply with any conditions imposed on you.
What happens if I am charged with rape?
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) can only charge you with rape if:
- It deems that there is enough evidence to provide a real possibility of a conviction, and
- it is in the public interest to bring a prosecution.
All criminal cases begin in the Magistrates’ Court. As rape is an indictable only offence, you will not be asked if you wish to plead guilty or not guilty. Instead, your case will be transferred to the Crown Court for trial before a jury.
It can take many months, and in some cases a year, for your trial to begin. Whilst you are waiting you will either be detained in custody or released on bail.
Your first appearance in the Crown Court will be for a ‘Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing’ (PTPH). The charges (known as the ‘indictment’) will be read out to you, and you will be asked to formally plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty.’ If you plead the latter, a date for your trial will be set.
How can a Criminal Defence Solicitor help me if I am falsely accused of rape?
Our Solicitors will be at your side from the moment you instruct us. We can provide you with confidential advice at our offices and we will be with you from the point that you are taken to the police station through to your trial. Not only will we provide practical and strategic advice concerning answering questions during an interview under caution, but we will also investigate the evidence the CPS has collated against you (including the complainant’s medical evidence) and talk to witnesses who can provide support for your defence.
As one of the most highly-regarded criminal defence teams in the UK, we will instruct experienced expert witnesses to provide evidence to the Court and first-class barristers to present your case.
Being accused of rape can have enormous ramifications on your personal and professional life and if you are convicted you are likely to be handed a custodial sentence. Therefore, it is vital that you take no chances – even if you know you are innocent make sure you instruct an experienced criminal defence team to advise and represent you at all stages of the investigation and prosecution.
If you have been falsely accused of rape our Sexual Offence Solicitors can help. Please get in touch through our contact page here. Alternatively you can phone 0333 240 7373, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All enquiries are treated as confidential.
Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice.