Court Visit

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Date of court visit: 25 October 2010.
Court name: Snaresbrook Crown court.
Courtroom visited: court 1.
Judge: T. Lamb QC. (Queen’s Counsel)
Name of case viewed: Trial part heard; Remo Rossi. (Rape of a juvenile family member). Representation: V.Girling QC (Instructed by L.Lewis solicitors) for the defendant. G.Reece QC (Instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service) for the Crown.

On Monday the 25th of October 2010, I attended Snaresbrook Crown court at court 1 which was hearing a case on a rape of a juvenile family member. The defendant, Mr Rossi was charged at section 42 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. As in any criminal proceedings, the use of the language was very formal. The defendant Mr Rossi who was inside the court sitting in the dock, was being defended by barrister V.Girling QC, where barrister G. Reece was on the prosecution side representing the juvenile who was not physically inside the court but was followed in via TV link. The twelve members of the jury were brought in by order of the judge who instructed the usher to allow them in via the near side door. The defence argued on the fact that the juvenile was not a family member although Mr Rossi believed to be her step father. Their argument was merely based on the fact that the child was not adopted. Although the judge has firmly refuted the argument. The defence barrister also argued on the good character evidence of their client to be taken into consideration and request this to the judge to take it on board when referring to the jury for their deliberations.

With the Sexual Offences Acts 2003 which also strengthen the monitoring of offenders on the sex offenders register. The Act will mean:
Sex with twelve years- old and under, will automatically be charged as rape which carries a maximum sentence of life; Clarification of the Law on consenting regard to rape and the extension of the definition of rape; A new grooming offence with a ten years maximum jail sentence; All those on the sex offenders’ register to confirm their details in person annually; Strengthening drug rape offences;

Orders banning those convicted of a sex offence against under 16s from travelling anywhere in the world; Stronger protection for the vulnerable people; and a new offence of trafficking people for sexual exploitation with up to 14 years in prison for offenders.

Special provision is made in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 with regard to sexual offences against children. It is an offence for a person to rape a child under 13; to assault a child under 13 by penetration, to touch a child under 13 sexually or to cause or incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity. More generally, a person aged 18 or over commits an offence if he engages in sexual activity with a child; causes or incites a child to engage in sexual activity; engages in sexual activity in the presence of a child, or causes a child to watch a sexual act. Sexual Activity with a child family member.

A person (A) commits an offence if;
a. he intentionally touches another person (B)
b .the touching is sexual,
c .A knows or could be expected to know that his relation to B is of description falling within that section, and either d. B is under 18 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 18 or over or e. B is under 13.

(1) Where in proceedings for an offence under this section, it is proved that the other person was under 18, the defendant is to be taken not to have reasonably believed that that person was 18 or over unless sufficient evidence is adduced to raise an issue as to whether he reasonably believed it.

(2) where in proceedings for an offence under this section, it is proved that the relation of the defendant to the other person was of a description falling within section 27, it is to be taken that the defendant knew or could reasonably have been expected to know that his relation to the other person was of that description unless sufficient evidence is adduced to...
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