Expert Defence Solicitors for Sexual Offences Allegations
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As a criminal defence solicitor in Ireland, I have seen first-hand the devastating impact that being accused of a sexual offence can have on a person’s life. If you have found yourself in a situation where someone has made an allegation of a sexual nature against you, it is crucial that you seek the advice and guidance of experienced a sexual allegation solicitor who can help you navigate the complexities of the Irish criminal justice system.
At Daniel Kreith & Company Solicitors, we understand that being accused of a sexual offence can be a frightening and confusing experience. That is why we have developed this guide to provide you with a clear understanding of the criminal justice system as it relates to sexual offences in Ireland. Our goal is to help you better understand the charges you might be facing and the potential consequences of a conviction, as well as to provide you with information on your legal rights and options.
In this guide, we will cover a range of sexual offences, including rape, sexual assault, and offences relating to children (including child pornography). We will also discuss the various defences that may be available to you and provide guidance on how best to protect your rights throughout the legal process.
We work with a team of experienced criminal defence barristers who specialise in sexual offences and have a deep understanding of the laws, procedures, and issues surrounding these types of cases. We are committed to providing our clients with the highest level of representation and support, including 24-hour over the phone legal advice, 24-hour representation at Garda stations, and representation in the District Court, Circuit Court, and Central Criminal Court.
We recognise that each case is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to defending a sexual offence allegation. That is why we take a personalised approach to every case, working closely with our clients to understand their individual circumstances and build a strong defence strategy that is tailored to their specific needs.
If you have been accused of a sexual offence anywhere in Ireland, we urge you to contact us immediately to speak with a specialist sexual defence solicitor. With our knowledge, experience, and commitment to your case, we will work tirelessly to protect your rights, defend your reputation, and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
The Criminal Justice System and Sexual Offences in Ireland
The criminal justice system in Ireland is responsible for investigating and prosecuting sexual offences. If someone makes a complaint to a garda station regarding a sexual offence, the gardai will conduct an investigation to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a prosecution.
The gardai will first take a statement from the person who claims to be a victim (the complainant) regarding the allegation. They will then take steps to gather any evidence that they think may be of relevance to the investigation, such as DNA, CCTV footage, phones, and documents. Once the evidence has been gathered, they will make contact with the person who the Gardaí suspect of having carried out a crime. The Gardaí will want to hear that person’s side of the story, and they will usually arrest them for the purpose of taking a statement from them or interviewing them. It is essential that you have a solicitor before speaking to Gardaí.
If the Gardaí believe that there is sufficient evidence to support a prosecution, they will send all of the evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The DPP will review the evidence and make a decision as to whether or not the accused person should be prosecuted. If they decide to prosecute, the accused person will be arrested and charged with the relevant offence.
Once the accused person has been charged, they will be brought before the District Court. At this stage, they can apply for bail and for legal aid. The matter will be adjourned to allow the State to provide all of their evidence to the defence so that they can prepare their defence. Depending on the nature of the case, the hearing will either be dealt with in the District Court or, in the case of more serious matters, in the Circuit Court or Central Criminal Court before a jury.
During the hearing, the person accused of the offence will be represented by a solicitor and at least one barrister. In more serious cases, the accused person may have two barristers representing them. The legal team will examine the evidence presented by the prosecution and argue on behalf of the accused person. If the allegations are false, or there is insufficient evidence, the legal team will seek to have the case thrown out at the investigation stage, or at the hearing.
If it becomes evident that the allegation was false after the matter has been finalised, the accused person can make a complaint to Gardaí that the person who made the allegation did so falsely, and they can be prosecuted. Additionally, the accused person may consider suing the complainant for defamation.
It’s important to note that legal aid is available to most people charged with serious sexual offences in Ireland. This is known as free legal aid or criminal legal aid. As criminal defence solicitors we are responsible for representing their clients throughout the criminal proceedings and ensuring that their rights are protected.
The criminal justice system in Ireland takes allegations of sexual offences very seriously. The Gardaí will conduct a thorough investigation, and the prosecution will provide evidence to the defence to allow them to prepare their case. The accused person will be represented by a solicitor and at least one barrister during the hearing. If the allegations are false, or there is insufficient evidence, the legal team will seek to have the case thrown out.
The Different Types of Offence
Below, we have set out a brief outline of some of the more common types of sexual criminal offences in Ireland. This is not an exhaustive list. If you have been accused of any of these offences you should contact solicitor Daniel Kreith immediately to discuss your options.
Rape is considered one of the most serious sexual offences in Ireland, and it is defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse with another person. Rape may be charged under the Criminal Law (Rape) Act 1981 or the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990, depending on the circumstances of the case, age of the victim, and evidence available.
Under the Criminal Law (Rape) Act 1981, the definition of rape involves non-consensual vaginal, anal or oral penetration with the penis. The law defines consent as the “freely given agreement” of a person to engage in sexual activity. Consent cannot be given if a person is unconscious, intoxicated, or otherwise incapable of giving it. The law also recognizes that a person may withdraw their consent at any time during sexual activity.
The Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990 expands the definition of rape to include non-consensual penetration with any part of the body (such as fingers), as well as penetration with objects or substances. This act also recognises that men can be victims of rape.
In Ireland, the sentencing for rape can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the case. The maximum sentence for rape is life imprisonment. 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.
Attempted rape is also a criminal offence under Irish law. Attempted rape involves the intent to carry out the act of rape, even if the attempt is not completed. The punishment for attempted rape is similar to that of rape itself, and it can also result in a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
In addition, aiding and abetting a rape is also a criminal offence under Irish law. This offence involves assisting another person to carry out the act of rape, such as by holding down the victim or encouraging the perpetrator to commit the crime. Aiding and abetting a rape can result in a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Rape is a serious criminal offence in Ireland that can result in life imprisonment for the perpetrator. Attempted rape and aiding and abetting a rape are also criminal offences under Irish law, and they carry similar maximum sentences.
Sexual Assault Offences and Aggravated Sexual Assault Offences
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.
Sexual assault can occur in a variety of situations, and can be committed by a stranger or someone known to the victim. 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.
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. This reflects the fact that young people are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault, and are often unable to fully understand the nature and consequences of the sexual acts being committed against them.
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.
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.
Sexual assault is a serious criminal offence in Ireland, and can result in severe penalties upon conviction. It is important for anyone facing such charges to obtain legal representation from a qualified and experienced criminal defence solicitor. This can help to ensure that their rights are protected throughout the legal process, and can increase the likelihood of a positive outcome to their case.
Sexual Offences Relating to Minors and Vulnerable People
Statutory rape is a serious offence in Ireland, defined as unlawful sexual conduct with a person under the age of 17. The term also applies to sexual activity with someone under the age of 18 where the alleged offender is or was in a position of authority over the child. This, for example, might arise where a teacher has sex with a student who is 17 years old. While the term “statutory rape” is not used in the legislation, it is commonly used to describe this offence. This offence arises under the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006.
Statutory rape, put simply, is where someone engages in what might be termed “consensual” sexual activity with someone who is not legally able to consent. It is important to note that statutory rape is a strict liability offence in Ireland. This means that a person can be found guilty of the offence regardless of whether they knew that the victim was under the age of 17, or not, however, it can be an offence to show that you had an honest belief that the child was over the age of 17.
Penalties for statutory rape can be severe, including imprisonment for up to life in some cases.
Defilement of a Child
Defilement of a child under the age of 15 is a serious criminal offence under Irish law. This offence is defined in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006, which makes it illegal to engage or attempt to engage in a sexual act with a child under the age of 15 years. The term ‘defilement’ is used to describe this offence, and it carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
A sexual act under the law includes sex, or sexual touching between two people. Under the legislation, any kind of sexual contact with a child under the age of 15 years is considered illegal and can result in a charge of defilement of a child.
It is important to note that consent is not a defence in cases of defilement of a child under the age of 15. Even if the child appears to consent to the sexual act, it is still considered illegal as children under the age of 15 cannot legally consent to sexual activity under any circumstances.
Defilement of a child aged under 17 years
Defilement of a child aged under 17, but over 15, is also a serious offence in Ireland, which is punishable by a term of imprisonment. According to Section 3 of the Criminal Law (Sex Offences) Act 2006, as amended by Section 5 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Act 2007, engaging or attempting to engage in a sexual act with a child under the age of 17 is a criminal offence. The maximum sentence for this offence is five years imprisonment, and if the accused is a person in authority, (such as a parent, step-parent, teacher, sports coach, etc) the maximum sentence is ten years imprisonment.
Reckless Endangerment of Children
The safety and protection of children are of paramount importance in Ireland, and any act that endangers the welfare of a child is a serious criminal offence. One such offence is the reckless endangerment of children, which is defined under the Criminal Justice Act 2006. Although this is not purely a sexual offence, the legislation is often used to prosecute sexual cases.
This offence can be committed by any person who has authority or control over a child and intentionally or recklessly puts that child in danger. The endangerment can occur by either causing or permitting a child to be placed or left in a situation that creates a substantial risk to the child’s safety or failing to take reasonable steps to protect a child from such a risk while knowing that the child is in such a situation.
An example of this legislation being used to prosecute a child sex offence would be where the mother of a child allows or fails to prevent her child from being sexually abused by her partner.
A person convicted of reckless endangerment of a child can face a fine and a maximum prison sentence of ten years.
Child Trafficking and Pornography
The Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 is a piece of legislation that aims to protect children under the age of 17 from various forms of exploitation. This law was amended by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Act 2007 to strengthen its provisions.
The Act covers a range of offences, including child trafficking, taking a child for sexual exploitation, meeting a child for the purpose of sexual exploitation, allowing a child to be used for child pornography, producing, distributing, printing or publishing child pornography, and possession of child pornography. These are serious offences, and the penalties for committing them are severe.
Child trafficking and taking a child for sexual exploitation are two of the most serious offences covered by the Act. These offences carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Meeting a child for the purpose of sexual exploitation is another offence covered by the Act. This offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment. This law aims to prevent adults from meeting children with the intention of exploiting them sexually.
Allowing a child to be used for child pornography is also a serious offence that is covered by the Act. The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of up to €31,000 and/or 14 years imprisonment. This law aims to prevent individuals from exploiting children by using them in the production of child pornography.
Producing, distributing, printing or publishing child pornography is another offence covered by the Act. The maximum penalty for this offence is an unlimited fine and/or up to 14 years imprisonment. This law aims to prevent the production and dissemination of child pornography. Someone may be guilty of distribution of child pornography if they download and then subsequently send child pornography to another person.
Possession of child pornography is also an offence covered by the Act. The maximum penalty for this offence is €6,350 and/or five years imprisonment. In a typical scenario, people convicted of this offence will have downloaded child pornography into their possession but will not have distributed it to any other person.
Sexual Offences Involving People With Disabilities
Sexual offences involving people with disabilities are a serious matter that requires special attention and care. Ireland has specific provisions in place to protect people with disabilities from unlawful sexual activity. These provisions are contained in Section 5 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993.
One of the specific offences for people with disabilities is engaging in sexual intercourse or buggery with a mentally impaired person who is not a spouse. The maximum penalty for this offence is ten years imprisonment. It is important to note that “mentally impaired” refers to a person who suffers from a disorder of the mind, whether through mental disability or mental illness. This disorder must be of such a nature or degree as to render the person incapable of living an independent life or of guarding themselves against serious exploitation.
Another offence under Section 5 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 is gross indecency by a male with a male who is mentally impaired. The maximum penalty for this offence is two years imprisonment. The term “gross indecency” refers to any indecent act or behaviour that is considered to be morally reprehensible or offensive.
It is important to note that a person who engages in any unlawful sexual activity with a person with a disability may be charged under any of the provisions described in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993.