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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71158
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi was following the stuart hall case & was wondering why the

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Hi was following the stuart hall case & was wondering why the law officers in uk did not change the law regarding consensual under age sex
because in the bailliwick of guernsey after a person was charged ,
they changed the law on the time barring , the case was over 30 years ago ,why can guernsey do it & not the uk.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

We can do it in the UK. We just haven't.

There are many offences that do not have a specific statute of limitations in the UK. Its not just sexual offences.

However, the truth is that most offences other sexual offences would not be prosecuted stale by convention. The view with most offences is that if a person cannot complain expeditiously then they have lost the chance and evidence is weakened by delay.

We can, however, do it in the UK and, if you want my honest opinion, we should. A statute of limitations would be very useful. Stale allegations of sexual offences are even easier to make than recent ones. Trials are very unfair because evidence is lost and memories are affected by delay. They are also a huge waste of public money in an age of austerity.

Nevertheless, we have not yet taken any action at all. I suspect the truthful reason is that one excess breeds another in this life. There was a time when sexual offences were not taken seriously enough so now we have to behave as though they are the most serious evils that lurk in the depths of hell. The madness will pass in due course.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
If a charge is brought is the law as it was used ,
or can they changed it to the new law as it is today & if they can is it legal or can it be cotested
Not in relation to the substantive offence. The issue is the law at the time that the offence was committed.

Although, Parliament could bring in a statute of limitations tomorrow and that would apply from that time.

But if there is to be a charge then the relevant issue is the law at the time of the allegation.

There have been offences - like the War Crimes Act - where Parliament has made something an offence retrospectively but its been an isolated incident really and I don't think that such an attempt would survive a Human Rights Act challenge now. The WCA was passed before the HRA.

I do think that there will be a statute of limitations in due course. It might not be an actual act of Parliament but a convention by CPS that we dont prosecute stale offences. Before the Jimmy Saville allegations CPS were much more sensible than they have become and they were only charging cases with a good chance of success. Following the Jimmy Saville allegations they have started prosecuting everyone and then they wonder why nobody is convicted! If they want convictions they need to stop prosecuting innocent people.
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