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Sentencing for sexual offending involving a "sting" operation

View profile for Olivia Peck
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From 31st May 2022, the sentencing guidelines for child sexual offences where no child existed or is harmed will be revised.

What are the changes?

The new guidelines coming into force provide Judges and Magistrates with guidance on how to sentence offenders where there is intended sexual harm, even though there is not actually a victim, for example in sting operations.

These sting operations are usually run online by police forces and paedophile hunter groups. 

The Courts will now have to identify the category of harm on the basis of the sexual activity the offender intended. In current guidelines, where someone was caught in a sting, the sentence would be lower because of the absence of an affected child. This will however no longer be the case.

The new guidelines will cover commissioning a child sex offence, even where no sexual activity has taken place or there is no child victim. They will also cover causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual abusive.

How can we help?

If you find yourself being arrested or invited in for a police interview, it is vital to contact a Solicitor as soon as possible to obtain expert legal advice.

Johnson Astills are experts in criminal law and are able to assist 24 hours of the day at the police station. Our specialist advocates in the Criminal Defence Team are highly experienced in dealing with matters at both the Magistrates’ and Crown Court. Representation at the police station is free, and legal aid may be available for your case at the Magistrates’ and Crown Court. For offences which do not qualify for legal aid, we offer fixed fees for appointments and representation.

To discuss criminal offences of any nature please contact our Criminal Defence Team at Johnson Astills at our Leicester office on 0116 2554855 or our Loughborough office on 01509 610312.