Lara was instructed to represent a seventeen-year old youth who had pleaded guilty to rape of a child under thirteen. He now faced a further contested charge of sexual activity with a girl aged fourteen. It was alleged that he had engaged in penetrative sex with the complainant knowing she was underage and after an extensive period of ‘grooming’ through mobile telephone contact. The Crown’s position was that they had known each other for some three years and attended the same school.
At trial, Lara successfully excluded evidence of the defendant’s previous conviction for rape. His mobile telephone had been seized by the police on arrest. Lara obtained the full communications download from this phone which was then used to highlight inconsistencies in the Crown’s case.
When cross-examined by Lara over the live link, the complainant conceded that she had never explicitly told the defendant her age. She further accepted that all of their social interaction had taken place outside school when she was not in uniform.
Lara made closing submissions advancing the defence of reasonable belief that the complainant was aged 16 or over. The defendant was found not guilty of the charge.
Lara was instructed by Lyndsey Brown of Morgan Brown & Co Solicitors.
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