Sexual Offences Cases: How to Handle Them and How to Win - 3rd and 10th March

Date: Thursday 10 March 2016

Time: 17:30 - 19:00

Location: 54 Doughty Street, London, WC1N 2LS

Venue: Doughty Street Chambers

Speakers: Benjamin Newton, David Bentley QC, Paul Taylor QC, Sarah Elliott QC

CPD: 1

Fee: Free

According to MoJ Statistics (published last November) the number of defendants proceeded against and convicted for sexual offences is the highest in a decade.  A third of Crown Court trials now involve allegations of sexual offending.  Conviction rates have increased by 11% in a year, and are also higher than they have been in the last ten years.   

The charging of high-profile individuals seems to continue unabated; the weekend’s front pages featured stories on a convicted family entertainer being charged with seven further counts of indecent assault, and an England footballer currently on trial accused of sexual activity with a child.  Only very recently, a successful businessman and television star was acquitted of similar charges.  Debate is now extending to whether or not suspects should be granted anonymity.

It is clear, then, that such cases represent a significant part of the current workload of criminal lawyers.  But the stakes are high for those being investigated, and clients are demanding the best and most expert representation.  In response, Doughty Street Chambers is hosting a two-part seminar series to help equip defence solicitors with the tools and knowledge needed for handling these sensitive and difficult cases.  You may also like to read the recent Sexual Offences edition of our Crime Team newsletter.  

The talks, on 3rd and 10th March, will be presented by members of our criminal team who have specialist experience of these kinds of cases.  There will be an opportunity to ask questions, and the seminars will be followed by drinks, canapés and an opportunity for networking.

5.30pm – Registration and tea/coffee

6pm – Seminar and Q&A

7pm – Drinks, canapés and networking 


3rd March – “Old Cases, Scientific Evidence, and How to Win in the Court of Appeal"

David Bentley QC

  • Developments in DNA Evidence (including where DNA profiles are the only evidence, and secondary transfer) and how to challenge it in court
  • Its use in historic sexual offences cases
  • DNA 17 – the landscape post-July 2015

Paul Taylor

  • Fresh Evidence in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division, and CCRC Applications
  • General Principles, The Statutory Framework, The CACD’s Approach to Admitting Fresh Evidence
  • Issues in Sexual Offences Appeals – Material undermining the credibility of the complainant; fresh expert evidence


10th March – “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”                              

Ben Newton

Early Stage Preparation

  • Interviews under caution
  • Third Party Issues (especially disclosure)
  • Strategies for responding to applications to obtain your client’s medical records
  • Reporting restrictions
  • Giving early advice on possible sentence

Sarah Elliott QC

Preparation for Trial

  • Tactical issues relating to disclosure and defence statements
  • Responding to bad character applications (e.g. behaviour)
  • Handling vulnerable witnesses and ground rules hearings
  • Press management
  • Dealing with non-charged complaints
  • Dealing with applications to try allegations a second time / double jeopardy

To reserve a place please RSVP to or call a member of our events team on 0207 404 1313. We hope you will attend both events, but some places will be reserved for those who can only attend one of the evenings – if this applies, please indicate which date you would like to book for in your RSVP and we will try to accommodate this.

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