Sexual Assault Defence Solicitors
Table of Contents
What is Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault?
Section 2 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990 defines sexual assault as an indecent assault on a male or female. The term ‘indecent assault’ refers to an act that is sexual in nature and is committed against the will of the victim, without their consent or where the victim is unable to give their consent.
Examples of sexual assault include unwanted touching, groping, kissing or any other unwanted sexual contact. It is important to note that sexual assault is a serious criminal offence in Ireland, and can result in severe penalties upon conviction.
It is important to note that a person accused of sexual assault is presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is therefore vital for anyone facing such charges to obtain legal representation from a qualified and experienced criminal defence solicitor. A solicitor can help to ensure that their client’s rights are protected throughout the legal process, and can work to build a strong defence against the charges.
Attempted sexual assault is also a criminal offence under Irish law. Attempted sexual assault involves the intent to carry out the act of sexual assault, even if the attempt is not completed. The punishment for attempted sexual assault is similar to that of sexual assault itself.
In addition, aiding and abetting a sexual assault is also a criminal offence under Irish law. This offence involves assisting another person to carry out the act of sexual assault, such as by holding down the victim or encouraging the perpetrator to commit the crime. Aiding and abetting a sexual assault can result in a sentence of imprisonment.
Sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault are serious criminal offences in Ireland that can result in imprisonment for the accused. Attempted sexual assault and aiding and abetting sexual assault are also criminal offences under Irish law, and they carry prison sentences. Most sexual assault cases in Ireland are heard in the Circuit Court before a Judge and jury.
Allegations of sexual assault carry immense gravity and can cause profound distress. Therefore, if you find yourself being investigated, arrested or charged with a sexual assault offence, it is crucial to find a solicitor that is experienced, practical, and empathetic.
What defences are there to a Sexual Assault accusation?
Sexual Assault cases can be defended. Your defence will depend on the circumstances of the case.
Firstly, if no assault actually took place, we will build a defence to your case on that basis. For example, we may be able to show that you were not with the alleged victim at the time. We can do this by using witnesses who can say where you were at the time, CCTV, mobile phone tracking etc.
Secondly, if sexual contact did take place, we can look to defend the case in a different way. In cases like this the prosecution must prove the following three things:
- That physical contact took place
- That the contact was sexual or “indecent” in nature
- That the alleged victim did not give consent
- That the alleged offender did not reasonably believe the other party consented
- In the case of aggravated sexual assault – that violence or the threat of violence was used by the alleged perpetrator
In cases where physical contact of a sexual nature did take place, we will usually try to defend the case by showing that:
- The alleged victim did give consent
- The alleged offender believed that the alleged victim was consenting
In order to properly advance these defences, we regularly rely on witness testimony, text messages, WhatsApp messages etc.
In the case of aggravated sexual assault, it is also a defence to show that there was no violence, or threat to use violence by the accused person.
This is just a brief overview of the potential defences that can be relied upon by someone accused of sexual assault. Our team has years of experience in defending these types of cases and we can advise you on the possible defences open to you.
What is the sentence for Sexual Assault?
If you are convicted of a sexual assault offence, or if you plead guilty to one, the next issue that arises is the sentence. We work with leading psychiatrists, addiction services and experienced barristers to ensure that if you are facing a sentencing hearing, you will receive the lowest possible sentence.
The maximum sentence for sexual assault is 10 years imprisonment, but this can be increased to 14 years if the victim is under the age of 17 years.
Aggravated sexual assault is a more serious offence, and involves sexual assault committed in conjunction with serious violence or the threat of serious violence. This can include the use of weapons, physical restraint or the threat of physical harm. The maximum penalty for aggravated sexual assault is life imprisonment.
In Ireland, sentencing for sexual assault can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the case. The court will consider several factors when determining the appropriate sentence, including the level of violence used, the degree of harm caused to the victim, and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances present. Aggravating factors can lead to a longer sentence, whilst mitigating factors can reduce the sentence. Examples of these are set out below.
Mitigating factors in a sexual assault can lead to shorter sentences, these include:
- a guilty plea;
- an apology;
- mental health issues;
- having no previous convictions;
- addiction issues.
Aggravating factors in a sexual assault can lead to longer sentences, these include:
- abuse of trust by the person who committed the sexual assault;
- abuse of a position of authority or a position of dominance in a family;
- planning the offence;
- the involvement of more than one offender;
- tricking a victim into a position of vulnerability;
- taking advantage of a difference in age.
Sentencing for sexual assault in Ireland is varied, and will depend on the circumstances of the case.
Examples of some sentencing in some recent sexual assault cases in Ireland are set out below:
A man received a two year suspended sentence where he had pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his partner on a number of occasions whilst she slept. The fact that the sentence was wholly suspended meant that he was not imprisoned, although he was required to engage with the probation service for a period of two years. The man’s actions were that he kissed, fondled and touched his partner whilst she slept. It was also alleged that he touched the woman’s genital area outside her clothing, and rubbed against her whilst she slept. The man had admitted his actions to both Gardaí and the woman herself and had expressed remorse. He also had paid €7,500 to cover the cost of counselling sessions that she had availed of a result of the sexual assault. The man had no previous convictions.
A man was sentenced to six years and six months in prison for an aggravated sexual assault. He suspended the final six months for two years on strict conditions, including that he attend for any treatment as deemed appropriate by the Probation Service. The facts of the case were that the female victim had been out walking her dog on a dark evening around 6pm when she was pulled forcibly to the ground. He used a hat as a gag to prevent the woman crying out and used his knees to hold her down by her shoulders. He touched her vagina outside of her underwear. The accused also had a previous conviction for the rape of a 14-year-old.
A man who sexually assaulted a sleeping woman was given a three year sentence, with the final year and a half suspended. The victim was a tenant in the house where the assault had taken place and had been put to bed by another party as she had too much to drink. The woman later told gardaí she woke in the middle of the night and found the man in her bed, kissing her and with his hand down her underwear touching her vagina. The man had no previous convictions and had not come to Garda attention since this sexual assault.
When do I need to speak to a Solicitor?
The short answer: Now!
The long answer: It is never too early to contact us. A sexual assault conviction is very serious. Most people who are convicted will receive a prison sentence. The reputational damage is huge, and many people convicted of sexual assault will lose their jobs and have difficulty securing work in the future. A conviction for sexual assault will also have a profound effect on your loved ones.
Given the seriousness of a sexual assault allegation, it is absolutely vital that you receive specialist advice by speaking with an experienced sexual assault defence solicitor as early as possible. An experienced sexual offences solicitor will make sure that all relevant evidence is preserved, that your case is prepared diligently and that no defence is overlooked.
What we can do for you?
If you have been arrested or charged with sexual assault, you can call Daniel Kreith 24 hours a day, seven days a week for immediate expert advice and representation. We will immediately take steps to:
- Build your defence as early as possible to make sure all relevant evidence is gathered
- Attend Garda Station interviews with you
- Help you prepare a statement
- Take statements from all relevant witnesses
- Secure reports from relevant experts
- Provide you with support and advice
- Secure legal aid for you
- Secure bail for you
- Secure two barristers to advise on your case and run your defence
- Engage in damage limitation even if you admit the allegation
- Attempt to have the Gardaí drop the case
- Attempt to have the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) drop the case
What to do if you are accused of Sexual Assault?
If you have been accused of sexual assault, knowing your rights is crucial. We regularly come across situations where the accused person has not contacted a specialist sexual offences solicitor in the early stages of their case. Often, these people will have unintentionally said something that damages their case. You should never speak to Gardaí about a sexual assault allegation until you have first spoken with a solicitor experienced in dealing with sexual assault cases. You should always obtain legal advice.
Always remember that:
- You do not have to answer any questions asked by the Gardaí
- You should never answer any questions without a solicitor present
- You can choose your own criminal defence solicitor
- Following the interview, you may need to have a solicitor apply for legal aid and bail on your behalf
Why Daniel Kreith And Company Solicitors?
We have represented and advised clients all over Ireland in relation to sexual assault allegations. If sexual assault allegations have been made against you, or you know that you are being falsely accused, we are ready to help you 24/7, 365 days a year.
Even if you already have another solicitor, and wish to change, we can help.
We specialise in representing people accused of sexual offences and we regularly act in high profile cases. We always instruct at least one barrister in sexual assault cases. That means you will have two lawyers working at all times, from the start of your case, with your best interests at heart.
We know how difficult sexual assault accusations can be and we know how to to deal with matters in a sensitive but efficient way to limit any damage to your reputation, your job and your family.
Where our clients are not fluent in English, we use trained interpreters. We also know which experts to bring in to your case to provide help with forensics, DNA, digital evidence, mobile phone, app data, etc.
We always offer same day appointments either in person or over the phone. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of confidentiality and we are always open and honest with our clients.
The sad reality is that society tends to reverse the presumption of innocence until proven guilty when it comes to sexual assault offences.
During Garda interviews, our primary objective is to ensure that the investigators do not elicit information from you that might be harmful to your defence. Our sole focus is to prevent you from being charged, but if you are, we are ready to fight the case.
Over the years, we have dealt with numerous false allegation cases. We meticulously examine the evidence in every case. We will always assemble a team of experienced barristers to safeguard your interests from the early stages of your case.
Contact our Sexual Assault Defence Solicitors Today
For urgent specialist advice, attendance at a Garda station interview, or to speak to us confidentially about allegations of sexual assault or any other type of sexual offence, please contact Solicitor Daniel Kreith on 086 0762191.