There are many different types of sexual offence in Scotland. These include rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, lewd & libidinous practices, incest, public indecency, sexual exposure, prostitution offences, child pornography offences and unnatural crimes (such as beastiality). There are many other types of sexual offence covered by the law of Scotland.
Sexual offences are dealt with both at summary and solemn levels in the Sheriff Court and the High Court depending on the nature and severity of the crime. The most serious offences are reserved for the High Court. Rape prosecutions will always take place in the High Court of Justiciary and convictions rarely attract less than 6 years imprisonment. For further information relating to rape in Scotland please visit our specific page on the subject.
Unlike other offences there is a legal requirement for an accused charged with a sexual offence to be represented by a solicitor. This requirement covers the vast majority of sexual offences in Scotland. If an accused does not nominate a solicitor they will be given the duty solicitor by default. It is therefore particularly important to ensure you are represented by an experienced firm such as McCusker, McElroy & Gallanagh if charged with a sexual offence.
The number of sexual offence prosecutions has risen dramatically in recent years. This is as a direct result of heightened public interest in prosecutions in the wake of the Jimmy Saville scandal and the large scale crackdown that has followed. There are now far more reports of sexual offences and all allegations are thoroughly investigated by police.
There has also been an increase in prosecutions for historical sexual offences. It would appear that there are now far more alleged victims of sexual offences coming forward to the authorities regarding allegations from many years ago.
Prosecutions for sexual offences are always highly complex. By their very nature sexual offences often occur in private. The requirement for corroboration in Scotland has therefore presented a significant hurdle for prosecutors to overcome and there are complex legal doctrines that have developed over time. The most significant of these is the Moorov doctrine that allows allegations from separate complainers to be mutually corroborative so long as the crimes are so similar in nature as to form part of a systematic course of conduct. The doctrine is incredibly complex in practice and it essential to have an expert criminal lawyer to represent you in prosecutions based on the Moorov doctrine.
The historic requirement for corroboration in the law of Scotland is currently under review by parliament. Despite strong opposition from the legal profession the Government is proposing to remove the requirement for corroboration. If this is achieved it will open the door for many more sexual offence prosecutions.
If you face an allegation of committing a sexual offence it is essential that you receive the best possible representation. Our solicitors have many years experience in dealing with all manner of sexual offence cases in all forums of the Scottish justice system. Please contact us immediately for confidential advice if you so require.