To be convicted of a criminal offence, the prosecution must prove that the accused committed the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. These aspects of our criminal law justice system create a high threshold for conviction, protecting ordinary citizens from any false accusations or injustice.
Our firm was contacted to represent a man who was charged with committing an indecent act with or towards a person of the age of 16 or over.
In the police fact sheet, it was alleged that the victim and the accused were on a train heading to their respective destinations. They sat opposite each other and were alone in the carriage during the afternoon.
During the train ride, the accused was mostly pre-occupied with the contents on his phone but was seemingly unaware of the alleged victim opposite of him.
It was alleged that the accused sat with his legs spread wide and he pulled his shorts with his right hand to expose his genitals through the ‘right leg hole’. No eye contact was made between the victim and the accused but nonetheless, the victim was shocked.
Alarmed, the alleged victim held out her phone as if to take a photograph, hoping that it would cause the accused to cover up his genitals. Then, still unaware of the alleged victim’s actions, our client slightly pulled his shorts forward, but his genitals were still partially exposed.
The alleged victim stated that a full body photograph was taken at this point.
Soon, both our client and the alleged victim reached their stop and exited the train.
About a week after this event, the accused was charged with the offence. He denied committing the offence and sought the help of Lincoln Legal.
How Did We Help?
We spoke with the accused thoroughly and reviewed the materials provided by the police which included the facts sheets and photographs. After considering all the relevant facts, we wrote a letter to the prosecution, laying down several substantial arguments why the evidence they sought to rely upon did not satisfy the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt and circumstances that explained the accused’s action at the time:
- Police facts were inconsistent – although the fact stated photos were taken when the accused was exposing his genitals, no photographs depicted such events.
- Our client had a medical condition – the evidence was attached to our letter which explained why our client wore shorts for the purpose of alleviating certain symptoms.
- Lack of evidence – there was an absence of evidence that any of the act was directed to the alleged victim. Such as the lack of eye contact, the lack of arousal experienced by the accused, photographic evidence showing the accused was engrossed on his phone which was consistent with the fact sheet.
For the purpose of clarifying the action of the accused and the misunderstanding that may have been caused, communications to the police prosecutors that it was unlikely that an indecent act with or towards a person could be established beyond a reasonable doubt.
Therefore, if the prosecution were to bring this case before the court, they would be acting contrary to the prosecution guidelines as there were no reasonable prospect of conviction.
Fortunately for our client, the police withdrew the charges against the accused.
Should you ever find yourself being charged by the police, the best option is always to seek legal advice and explain the full story. Our lawyers at Lincoln Legal are highly trained to deal with these criminal matters and will professionally provide you with the service you need the most.
Disclaimer: The information above is intended to be general information only and it should not be relied upon it as legal advice. If you seek professional advice please feel free to contact the team at Lincoln Legal or make an enquiry.
This article was made possible by Jonathan Wong