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Advocacy Section

Webinar: The new sexual offences sentencing guidelines (13 February 2014)

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In one of the four webinars inclusive in 2014 Advocacy Section membership, Michelle Crotty and Michael Caplan QC outline the key changes in the new guidelines, in force from 1 April 2014

Michael Caplan

Speaker: Michael Caplan

Michelle Crotty

Speaker: Michelle Crotty

The Sentencing Council published new sentencing guidelines for sexual offences on 12 December 2013 which come into force on 1 April 2014. The guideline covers more than 50 offences including rape, child sex offences, indecent images of children, trafficking and voyeurism, and brings significant changes to how offences are considered by the courts.

The guideline marks a step forward in how courts take into account the impact of sex offences on victims. As well as physical harm, the new approach will reflect more fully the psychological and longer terms effects on the victim, enabling courts to take into account the true extent of what the victim has been through. The guideline also takes an expanded approach to how courts assess offenders, looking at the full context of offending behaviour and motivation in committing any offence. This means giving more significant emphasis to important aspects like grooming activity by both individuals and gangs, the targeting of vulnerable victims such as those in care, and offenders’ abuse of trust and positions of power or status.

This webinar will outline the key changes.

The audio webinar took place at 13:00 on 13 February 2014. You can now view a recorded version.

Speaker

Michael Caplan QC, partner, Kingsley Napley and Michelle Crotty, head of the Office of the Sentencing Council

Michael Caplan QC is a solicitor practising in the areas of domestic and international, criminal and regulatory law and is one of the few solicitors to have been appointed QC. As well as having been a partner at Kingsley Napley for 30 years, he has been a part-time judge (Recorder) in the Crown Court for many years and is authorised to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge. Michael is also a chairman of the police disciplinary appeal tribunal, is on the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee chaired by the Lord Chief Justice and is a former chairman of the Solicitors Association of Higher Court Advocates. He has written and lectured on a number of topics.

Michelle joined the Office of the Sentencing Council in July 2010 and has been head of the office since November 2011, having previously been head of legal within the team. She was a practising criminal solicitor prior to joining the Government Legal Service. She practised as a criminal defence lawyer in London for over 12 years, becoming a partner in a legal aid firm before moving to Revenue & Customs Prosecutions Office (now merged with CPS) to specialise in the prosecution of complex financial crime.

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