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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69361
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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A few weeks ago I went out to celebrate with some uni friends

Customer Question

A few weeks ago I went out to celebrate with some uni friends because we'd all got teaching jobs. I also invited another friend too. She came to my house beforehand to drop off her bag. We were drinking wine with my boyfriend. Then the three of us went for a meal, which was really nice. We moved on to a pub, where we met my friends and then to a club. We drunk a lot, at home one bottle of wine, in the restaurant one bottle of prosecco and one of wine, and then in the pub and club probably another 3 or 4 bottles. I remember dancing in the club but nothing from the rest of the evening. My friends told me I was sick in the club and my boyfriend and friend decided to take me home.
I know we got home about 1am because I have a photo Luca and I took on the sofa. My mum also said I called her about 1am saying I was really drunk and had such a nice evening. haha! Anyway, i woke up about 6am, Luca was not in bed next to me. I went to the bathroom and saw a lot of vomit (mine) in the sink. I'd actually blocked it. Anyway I went into the living room. There was a broken glass in the sink, half drunk cups of tea and crisps all over the floor. Paloma (my friend) was asleep on the sofabed and Luca was asleep on the sofa. He had my pyjama bottoms on and his leather jacket on top of him. Anyway I woke him up to come back to bed with me. I just assumed we'd had a drunken fight or something. Anyway, my friend left early to go to work (she owns her own nail salon) and then Luca woke up a bit later to go to work. I woke up briefly,and we both talked about how hungover we were and how we didn't remember much of the night before. I've seen him hungover before but this time he was pretty bad. Apparently he had to leave work early because he couldn't get through the shift.
Anyway, I was just on my way home from central London when my friend called me. it was about 6pm. She told me that Luca had got into bed with her and groped her during the night. She said she told him to stop a few times. Then he stopped and fell off the bed, going back to the sofa. We talked for a while, she says she thinks we'd all been asleep a while before it happened. I got home and confronted him. He was very shocked, and said it was all a massive blur, but he does remember some 'sensations' of being close to her. She text me the next day saying she was upset that I was trying to understand his motives. She said she woke up with his fingers inside her and hand under her bra.
We were messaging a lot that week and I told her I was here for her but also wanted to try to understand and support Luca. This made her very upset. She said things like, 'I can't believe you're siding with a rapist' and 'i could get my ex boyfriend to come and kill him, but i'm not a monster like him'. This went on for a while, and I think at one point I said 'he didn't rape you',and at this point she told me she was going to block my number until I started talking sense. She unblocked it a few days later, and started chatting like normal. The next day she texted me to say she'd reported him to the police.
We'd been having a break (me and Luca) but I've been suffering from depression and I got a bit drunk and self harmed, so he came back during the night to take care of me. Obviously the police weren't expecting him to be there. Anyway I offered to come to the station too and said I was happy to give a statement (me being a bit naive). I just reported everything that my friend had told me, and I remember the only thing the woman wrote down was that Luca had said he was 'searching' for something, so quite ambiguous. Luca apparently asked for a solicitor who advised him to answer 'no comment' until she'd had time to talk with him and get the facts. He's been charged with 'assault a female 13 or over by penetration with part of body/a thing- SOA 2003. He has to go to magistrates court on 25th April.
He lost his father 2 months ago. It was a pretty tough time, he was by his side to the end, and then had to help clean the body. He said these images really changed him. They also put the body in a cooler (it's quite warm in Italy) and it froze. Which he saw. So I think he was deeply disturbed/stressed by these events. He's very sensitive and cries a lot. The psychologist who he spoke to at the police station said if this does go to crown court he'll personally write a letter to the judge claiming Luca's good character. All Luca does is go to work and come home- we rarely go out drinking, he just cares about his family and sending them money. It's very out of character and we've both been very shocked by it.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I just wondered if you could give any advice for what you think he should plea? Apparently it's possible that he could have been asleep at the time. I don't know if it is just her word against his because the police have seen the whatsapp messages between me and my friend where I say that he admitted to it.The police read Paloma's statement to Luca, and she has lied twice. First, she claimed that Luca and I had a big argument in the restaurant and he was upset with me for the rest of the night, and secondly that he walked in on her changing. The first bit isn't remotely true, and I've got friends who were there that night who can vouch for it. And the second fact Paloma never once mentioned to me this whole time, Luca doesn't remember it so i'm inclined to disbelieve her.What is also weird is that she texted me later the day she'd reported him saying, 'i heard you had to give a statement, how did it go', and then a few days later she texted me asking for her earrings. And today I got an email saying she'd put me down for a reference for a volunteer job in an HIV hospital. Which is very bizarre. I feel a little bit like she's playing mind games with me. Could this be evidence of interferring with the witness?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
Hi. Sorry for the delay. Would you mind summarising your question? I think your post above exceeds the word length.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sorry! I suppose my question is based on what I've told you what do you think he should plea and what do you suspect the punishment would be if he did plead guilty?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
Ok. So can you summarise the information above?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Yes sure. A few weeks ago I went out with some friends and my boyfriend. We were all really drunk. She says she woke up with my boyfriend's fingers inside her and hand under her bra. She's reported him and he's been charged. He had a solicitor at the station who told him to answer 'no comment' in the interview. He told me the whole night was a blur, he doesn't remember physically travelling to her bed but remembers being close to her. He said he felt her nails (she has really long nail extensions) and realised what he was doing and stopped. He fell off the bed onto the floor and went to sleep on the sofa. He also says he remembers her telling him to stop a few times.
With this basic info what would you suggest he pleads? And if he pleads guilty what do you think the charge would be?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
Well, I would want more information than that before I advised on a plea but I can see immediately that his account doesn't really amount to a denial.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
He doesn't want to be pleading guilty to assault by penetration without careful consideration which does not mean a Question and Answer site.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
yes, I'm aware of that. He's still waiting to be contacted by his solicitor.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
This will lead to 5-8 years custody and a lifetime on the sex offenders register.It is not a minor offence.If there is any prospect at all that her account can be challenged then he should be trying.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I just wanted some advice beforehand.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
It is not really possible to give reliable advice in this forum. I haven't had vision of the papers. It might be possible to put them to proof if her account is weak.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
But if he thinks he could have been asleep or dreaming doesn't this mean he could plead non guilty? I spoke to another lawyer online he told me the sentence would be 2 years maximum. Does the fact that she's lied twice in her statement stand in our favour? She said that my boyfriend and I had a big fight that evening which isn't true. I've got friends who were there that said they would tell the police this. Also while we were talking she said things like, 'I could get my ex to come and break Luca's legs but i'm not a monster like him' and 'I can't believe you want to have sex with a rapist.' She also blocked my number, then text me asking for her earrings and today I received an email saying she'd put me down as a reference for a volunteering job in an HIV hospital in London, which I find very bizarre. Does this count as interferring with the witness? We've had fights in the past and to be honest I feel quite intimidated by her.The police woman in the station were very nice, and all kept saying they could see luca was truly remorseful. He's just lost his father, in quite horrible circumstances, and is not himself anyway. They said his good character coupled with the fact that it's a first time offence, and his dad's death are all in his favour.Based on what I've told you surely it's a case of her word against his? I suppose unless she went to a medical centre or something, to get DNA evidence, which I don't know.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
He can plead not guilty for any reason he likes.He is going to get nothing even remotely like two years for this.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
This is assault by penetration. He is going to get eight years.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
Her conduct may amount to other offences but it isn't intervention with a witness.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
The reaction of the police does tend to suggest he has admitted the offence.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
http://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Final_Sexual_Offences_Definitive_Guideline_content_web1.pdfThis guideline says 2 years maximum
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
That is the wrong offence.This is assault by penetration.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sentencing_manual/sexual_assult_by_penetration/Yes, and here it says: Type/nature of activity: Penetration with a body part (fingers, toes or tongue) where no physical harm is sustained by the victim- starting point 2 years
Expert:  Jo C. replied 8 months ago.
Starting point is not a maximum.He will get 5-8 years.

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