Meeting a Child after Sexual Grooming

Meeting a Child after Sexual Grooming, Grooming a Minor

The offence of meeting a child after sexual grooming is a serious criminal offence, and is defined by section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

If you are accused of a sexual grooming offence, the prosecution must prove that:

  • You are a person over the age of 18,
  • You have met or communicated with another person on at least 2 occasions,
  • That person is under 16 years old,
  • You do not reasonably believe the other person is 16 years old or over,
  • You have intentionally met, travelled intending to meet, or arranged to meet the other person, and
  • Intended to do anything to that person that would be a relevant sexual offence

The definition of the offence also includes traveling outside of the jurisdiction of England and Wales in order to commit an offence. Effectively the offence is designed to prevent efforts to commit sexual offences against children. The relevant sexual offences are:

The key issues that commonly arise in cases of sexual grooming are the intentions of the defendant, and whether or not they knew the complainant was under the age of 16. The evidence called by the prosecution to support these points is commonly obtained from forensic computer analysis, and trying to draw inferences from comments that may have been made during conversations between the 2 parties.

The offence of meeting a child after sexual grooming is an either way offence, meaning that it can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. However, the sentencing guidelines for the offence are so high that realistically all such allegations would be heard by the Crown Court. If convicted, a lengthy prison sentence is likely.

As well as the immediate sentence, anyone convicted of sexual grooming would have to comply with the conditions of the Sex Offenders Register.

As sexual grooming allegations are so serious, and even being accused of the offence can cause a suspect great anxiety, it is important that you are represented by an experienced specialist solicitor, who knows the best way to prepare your defence. If you need more information about sexual grooming allegations, contact us and we can try to recommend a specialist criminal defence lawyer who can help you.

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