Sexual Assault Offences

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Assault by penetration - section 2 Sexual Offences Act 2003

This offence is often charged by the police when there is insufficient evidence of rape, for example when the accuser does not know whether they were penetrated by a penis or something else.

Assault by penetration is a serious offence to be facing and inevitably seem daunting and have a huge impact on your life. It is essential that you obtain advice from solicitors who are skilled in dealing with all sexual offences and a proactive in building the case for the defence.

The offence of assault by penetration is serious, it will be dealt with in the Crown Court and like rape carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Legal Definition of assault by penetration

Assault by penetration can be committed by either gender. Simply defined is the intentional sexual penetration of the vagina or anus of another, with a part of the body or anything else, without consent or a reasonable belief that the other consents.


Cases of this nature are often limited to the alleged victim’s word against that of the accused, the issue usually is whether there was consent or not. In some cases the prosecution will obtain substantiation from medical experts who can comment on injuries and give an opinion as to causation.

It is therefore essential that a thorough investigation takes place by the defence a thorough scrutiny of exports reports, where necessary will instruct another expert and seek to challenge the opinions of the prosecution expert and ensure that any doubt is emphasised to the Jury.

Sexual Assault – section 3 Sexual Offences Act 2003

Sexual assault simply defined is the non consensual touching of another person sexually. It can be touching of any part of the body, and with any part of the body and can also be through clothing but it must be “sexual” which means that a member of the public would reasonably consider that the nature of the act was sexual.

In order to be convicted of an offence the court must be satisfied that the person accused did not believe that the person making the complaint (the complainant) consented to the touching. Even if the complainant did not consent, the person accused may have a defence if he or she believed that the person was consenting. Factors that a Court will take into account in deciding an issue of consent are vulnerabilities of the alleged victim such as alcohol or a disability. Accidental touching is not an offence regardless of consent.

The offence of sexual assault can be dealt with both in the Magistrates and Crown Courts. Sentences for this type of offence can vary considerably from a community order such as unpaid work up to the the maximum sentence in the Crown Court of 10 years imprisonment

Forensic and Expert Evidence

Forensic evidence often features in offences of sexual assault. This is often in the form of DNA evidence to link an alleged offender to a victim. But frequently there are also expert medical witnesses, who provide opinion as to the causation of marks or injuries. It is vital that the solicitors defending in a case of this nature are experienced in dealing with these types of complex evidence and are able to critically analyse it and consider the instruction of defence experts to test it. It is often the case that this results in conclusions very different from that the prosecution would suggest.

Why choose us?

The lawyers at Burton Copeland have decades of experience in dealing with all types of sexual offences and have been involved in many high profile and complicated investigations and prosecutions. We ensure that you will receive the very best advice and that your case will be defended astutely and robustly.


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Why Choose Burton Copeland

Why choose Burton Copeland?

With over 35 years of experience, our defence lawyers are well placed to handle your corporate crime or fraud case. We understand what is necessary to build a proactive case and provide first-class representation to fight your prosecution and help you get the best possible outcome.

We will provide round-the-clock assistance so you are kept up to date on matters and can get in touch with us 24 hours a day, seven days a week should you have any questions or queries.

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