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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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It's regarding whether the offences act 1956 or SO act 2003

Customer Question

Hi - it's regarding whether the sexual offences act 1956 or SO act 2003 applies to an alleged sexual offence in 2001
Assistant: Thank you. Can you provide any more details to help us find you the right Expert?
Customer: Ok - so I have been accused of a SO with a girl who alleges I had sex with her @ 15 in 2000/1 + am wondering if due to the 12 month rule in the '56 act, it cannot be pursued.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

is there any reason you think you couldn't be pursued under the old law?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi - because there is a 12 month period that the complainant has to report the offence within according the 1956 SO act. I deny it happened because it didn't (although even if they thought I did, is there any point in them pursuing it due to the 12 month rule?), but oral sex did happen briefly which I admitted, although I believed her to be 16 at the time, which having looked at it, I believe the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that I DIDN'T believe she was 16 is that right? Also, I'm not really comfortable with this being published on your site if that's ok. Thanks.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
PS - Mitigating circumstances are that she was mature for her age, we then had a long term relationship for 3 years, lived together and it was a known relationship.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This was after she was 16 running through to 19/20 yrs old. I am 15 years older. Thanks I'll stop typing now.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

The offence of underage sex is an either way one so there were no time limits upon report.

They will have to use the old 1956 Act but they can still rely on it.

In any event, the summary only time was six months.

The Crown do have to prove you didn't know she was 16 but that is obviously easier to do in some cases that others. I'm not sure how they will achieve it with a woman who now presents as an adult.

It depends what else they had to support it.

They might not like the age gap though. It does tend to be much easier for young boys to defend these things than mature men.

Can I clarify anything for you?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi - I am a bit confused by the phrase 'The offence of underage sex is an either way one so there were no time limits upon report.' as it seems contrary to this BBC news report which in it says "because the abuse took place in the 1990s it fell under the old 1956 Sexual Offences Act, which set a 12-month time limit for 14- and 15-year-old female victims to report acts of unlawful sex".
Also a bit confused by "the summary only time was six months"?Thanks
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

I wouldn't know what the BBC think upon the point.

The law is in the 1956 Act and it doesn't say that there are time limits.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.

The deadline for a summary only offence is six months.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi - not sure what a summary offence is - could you please explain in layman's terms?
Also in this publication in section 3, it says "C did not reveal what had happened between her and J until some three years later, when she was seventeen. By that time, as will be seen, it was too late to prosecute J under section 6 of the 1956 Act, either summarily or on indictment, for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 16". Surely there must be some kind of amendment of some kind about the 12 month rule?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Found it!
7. The second statutory provision crucial to the outcome of this appeal, given effect by section 37 of the 1956 Act, is found in paragraph 10(a) of Schedule 2 to that Act. This sub-paragraph related to the offence of intercourse with a girl under 16 contrary to section 6 and specified (as described in section 37(2)) a special restriction on the commencement of a prosecution. The special restriction was that:"a prosecution may not be commenced more than 12 months after the offence charged."
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi - have you looked into this at all? Thanks.