Been accused of such crimes causes so many questions. Some, sadly will go forever unanswered.
*it must be noted that these answers may not be valid in Scotland or Northern Ireland. Please ensure you seek legal advice if located in these regions.
Arrest records can be deleted but it is very rare as it requires a strong proof of innocence. Applications can be made to delete the arrest record by contacting ACRO. Such applications are most often successful in cases of mistaken identity. .
There is no procedure to request that fingerprints are deleted following an NFA. This is done automatically when the computer is updated to NFA. The Police make an application to the Biometrics Commissioner within 28 days for this not to happen. However, this is rare.
Even on legal aid attending your court case can be expensive. With the level of historic allegations attending your trial can often mean travelling miles from home, having to pay for accommodation.
Even if the trial is just but a few days this can add up to a few hundred pounds very quickly. If it’s one of the longer trials of 2 or 3 weeks you are very quickly looking at a lot of money.
It is advisable from the time your case arrives at the court you start to keep records and receipts of your expenses. When you are acquitted of all your charges many of these (in line with the rules) can be claimed back from central funds.
Be sure to tell your barrister that when the not guilty verdict is returned you wish them to apply for a defendants cost order (DCO).
Often throughout the allegation and processes funds become very difficult. Many people loose income. Whilst this maybe the furthest thing from your mind ensuring you apply and receive your costs can be a big help to getting your finances back in order post trial.
Some of the things you can claim are as follows:
• Travel to / from court (bus/train/air/mileage)
• Parking• Subsistence (meals)
If you are funding your legal case privately the DCO can also cover recovering some of those legal fees that you have also spent. However, it is unlikely that you will recover your full legal fees. To recover legal costs you must have applied for and been refused legal aid. If you were eligible for legal aid and then chose to fund your case privately you will not be eligible to recover any legal fees either.
Everyone is entitled to free representation at the police station. This can be either under arrest or attending for a voluntary interview.
Following the interview there is no legal aid available until such a time as you are (hopefully not) charged. Any legal services you wish to use (for example pre-charge representation) in order to assist the closure of your case will need to be paid for directly.
If you are in the unfortunate position that you then get charged the option of Legal Aid then returns. The majority of people are entitled to Legal Aid to one degree or another.
Legal aid doesn’t always mean free legal services. Legal aid can also be a reduced fee legal services. It is means tested. However most average earners are entitled to either free or reduced fee legal aid. It is important that you supply your solicitor with all the relevant information upon request promptly in order that your claim for Legal Aid can be assessed.
Generally yes, although the press are not allowed to report any matter likely to identify the complainant in most proceedings concerning sexual offences. This restriction continues for the lifetime of the complainant, unless lifted by order of the court. Such an order would only be made in limited circumstances. The defendant, if over 18, can generally be identified unless this would lead to identification of the complainant, such as when they are husband and wife.
A Facebook archive will provide a file with all of your messages – even between people you are no longer ‘friends’ with, photos and videos, profile information, etc.
(This guidance is for a computer version of Facebook) .
On your Facebook page, click on the little down arrow that you use to Log Out and click on the Settings link just above Log Out.
This will bring up your ‘General Account Settings’ page. Click on the link ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’ underneath the General Account Settings’ box.
This will display the Download Your Information page. Click on the green ‘Start My Archive’ button.
You will be asked to re-enter your password and confirm your request. Facebook will then compile your data and send you a notification when it is ready for you. Select the notification to display the Download page and click on Download Archive. You will have to enter your password again then your archive will be downloaded to your computer. When the download is complete a new window will pop up with the contents of your archive folder. It will usually be in your Download folder but it is a good idea to store it (or a copy) into a location where you can easily find it or even email it to someone you trust. You can hand this over to your solicitor who in turn will advise the right time to hand a copy to the Police.
Although GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) does not fully apply to police investigations you can make a Subject Access Request to the Police force that was investigating the accusation. Each force has its own web page where you will find the details to make this request. However, expect any response you do receive to be heavily redacted. The redactions will mainly be to remove details about other people.
How to save your chat history
Your WhatsApp chats are automatically backed up and saved daily to your phone’s memory. Depending on your settings, you can also periodically back up your WhatsApp chats to Google Drive. If you uninstall WhatsApp from your phone, but don’t want to lose any of your messages, be sure to manually back up your chats before uninstalling. Or in the case of our group members need a full back up to keep safe. Once the backup is in Google Drive (or another back up location) you can attach to an email, send to yourself or another.
Back up chats
Go to WhatsApp > tap More options > Settings > Chats > Chat backup > BACK UP.
Export chat history
You can use the export chat feature to export a copy of the chat history from an individual or group chat.
- Open the individual or group chat.
- Tap More options > More > Export chat.
- Choose whether to export with media or without media.
An email will be composed with your chat history attached as a .txt document. which you can then send to yourself or another person for safe keeping. Repeat the process for each conversation.
This will be different for everyone. But, survive this you will. You won’t survive unscathed whatever the outcome of the legal procedures but survive you will. Please know that you are a valued person and you will get through it. Make sure you read through our Well-being section and our support section. No matter what stage you are at, even if it’s years after your false allegation our members in the Facebook group will be there to support you.
There is no way to predict this. You are at the mercy of the police who have very limited resources. If youa re very lucky and the false accusation is obvious it may take just a few weeks. However this is rare. The majority of decisions can take months, if not years to complete. It is very important that you look after your mental and physical self in this time. Take a look at our Well-being and support sections to find help during this time.
The vast majority of sexual offences have no time limit on when charges can be brought. You will regularly see in the media cases where the allegations were of offences a great many years ago. The prosecution are however entitled to bring such charges if they believe that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and that the prosecution is in the public interest. Instructing a good solicitor is important as their work will be key in making the best representations on your behalf.
Immediately seek legal representation. Engaging a professional with the expertise that you need and who will guide you through every step could result in a marked and crucial difference in the outcome of your case. See our section on police station representation and solicitors
You are putting yourself at great risk if you do this without first speaking to a solicitor. If the police want to talk to you then you are entitled free of charge to have a solicitor present in questioning. Check the legal help section if you don’t already have a lawyer.
It is becoming more and more common for evidence of text messages and instant messaging to be relevant at trial. The police will often seize mobile phones and devices from a defendant so that they may be downloaded and any relevant messages or call data obtained. The defence will be entitled to access this material and they can consider instructing an independent expert to analyse the material should this be necessary. It is also possible that cell-site evidence may be relevant to show in which area a person’s mobile phone was located at the time of an alleged offence. Finally, if evidence of social media postings are available and considered relevant, these can also be used at trial.
The vast majority of sexual offences have no time limit on when charges can be brought. This is evidenced by the large number of cases currently before the courts concerning allegations of a historic nature. When a significant amount of time has elapsed since an incident is said to have taken place, this can cause difficulties in bringing the case to court. However, it does not prevent the case been brought. The prosecution are entitled to bring such charges if they believe that there is a realistic prospect of conviction, and a prosecution is in the public interest.
There are false rumours in the community about me that are not true. Should I report the people making the false rumours?
Putting it simply. No you should not, at least without the advice of a solicitor. The police are duty bound to investigate any report of a sexual offence. If you report people for making false rumours the police will need you to tell them what the rumours are. Once you have told them you have reported yourself for the content of the rumours and they must investigate. Police often view this “self reporting” as a sign of guilt effectively they will claim you were getting your story in first. If there are false rumours circulating about you and you know what it is the rumours are alleging then simply gather and secure any evidence you have that proves your innocence. Screenshot media, write a time line of your involvement with that person. Do not delete any media from your devices as this action when discovered by forensics may be viewed as suspicious. Identify a solicitor (see our Legal Help section) and contact them to advise them what is happening. They will not likely be able to do anything but remember for their name for if you are called in or arrested for questioning. Request this solicitor to the police to be present during questioning.
It’s very important to understand that there is no way of knowing on which side your case will fall. It’s very easy to see the low percentage rate that we are about to give you and think you do not need to take action. YOU DO!. You need to prepare your defence. You need to make time lines, gather digital evidence, photographs, location data. Everything you can get your hands on that will be useful to your defence team IF you get charged for the false allegation against you.
That said in the year ending March 2021 the government data for crime outcomes for all sexual offences (including rape) was that 3.5% of offences reported resulted in a charge.
Begin compiling evidence as soon as possible. Many find the process therapeutic.
Keep notes of every tiny detail that occurs to you. Note times and dates of everything.
Develop a timeline for what happened when you have details of the accusation. Look for evidence of your whereabouts and your accuser’s whereabouts.
Save letters, record telephone calls and even conversations with your False Accuser or people harassing you – even the police. Try to get hard copies of all information – encourage mail or email communications rather than telephone. Give a copy of everything to someone you trust – and your solicitor. In the remote chance of an accuser or a member of their family contacting you by phone – be ready and record the conversation – there is a smartphone app that enables this.
Copy all electronic media. Save all text messages. Download all your Facebook activity and other Social Media. Facebook saves messages even if you’re ‘unfriended’. Take screenshots. Monitor Social Media activity of your accuser and their friends (without communicating with them). Take screenshots.
A Solicitor would greatly benefit from a chronology of your relationship with the Complaint emphasising when and why you fell out, any reason for the timing of the allegation and motive for any false allegation. Provide evidence if you can. Evidence showing a friendly relationship after the alleged incident (s) such as messages or photographs are very helpful.
You should not enter the interview without a solicitor nor discuss any aspect of the case with the Police. Whilst silence maybe awkward it is the best thing for you. Beyond confirming your identity and any communication regarding your welfare (or the immediate welfare of others that you may have responsibility for).
Ensure the interviewing officer (or custody sergeant) is aware that you want a solicitor. If you don’t have a solicitor already lined up request the duty solicitor.
The police will want to put questions to you regarding the allegations.
Before you go into the interview you will have a conference with your solicitor. He/She may have obtained from the Police some information. You will discuss what you do and do not know about the allegations. The solicitor will then tell you the best advice for the situation.
No Comment – The solicitor may advise you to answer all questions as “no comment”.
Answer questions – They may advise to answer all questions honestly and to the best of your ability.
Prepared Statement – The solicitor may advise that a prepared statement is the way to go. They will help you with this. However, it maybe that they initially advise to answer “no comment” but then stop the interview to go away and prepare a statement.
The key is to stay calm and follow the advice of your solicitor. If your solicitor interrupts you from answering something stop talking immediately. There will be a reason to their actions.
NOW!!!!! The sooner you start this the better. As soon as you know there is an accusation against you. Make a time line of your history with the party accusing you. Secure by means of download and screenshots anything that may assist your defence. Do not delete anything from your devices doing so, if your phones end up been seized may look suspicious. Keep any evidence you gather in a safe place. We do advise with a trusted person in a different residence. Alternatively in cloud storage is good. You can turn the sign in credentials over to your solicitor. You could also email a copy to yourself. Simply put keep the evidence safe as you may come to depend on it.
Most people do not fully understand their rights or how to approach questioning. For many this will be the first involvement with law enforcement. Without expert assistance, something could be said or done that negatively affects your case. They will guide you through the process and make sure you understand everything. They will guide you to making decisions about if you should or should not answer questions. How to answer them is also important. Your solicitor will also be able to make representations to the police that may well be crucial in the outcome of the case.
It is rare for people to be fully aware of their rights. Without expert assistance, something could be said or done that negatively affects your case. A professional will guide you through the interview process so that you are informed in respect of making decisions about if you should answer questions and how to answer them. Having a legal professional with you at the police station also enables them to make representations early on to the police concerning bail and have the skill to negotiate the early resolution of your case where possible.
There is no way of knowing this. So many factors come in to play. The important things are to look after both your mental and physical Well-being. Have a look at our well-being section. It is also important to start work on your defence as outlined in other FAQs.
The chances of ending up at court are very low. Currently (2021) 3.5% of sexual allegations end up in court (government data).
However, this doesn’t mean you can relax. You need to work on your defence and continue to build and gather evidence until such a time as you are either NFA’d (no further action) or charged.