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Have you been convicted as a result of a sting by the former News of the World Employee "The Fake Sheikh" – Mazher Mahmood?

We are currently advising and representing an increasing number of individuals who were convicted in these circumstances, and they have their applications currently before the CCRC (Criminal Cases Review Commission). There are some 70 individuals in total who have sustained these convictions.

Additionally, we are working closely with Mark Lewis (Seddons Solicitors) who is dealing with potential civil claims that arise from these prosecutions and stings. He is also advising those who were entrapped by these stings but who were not prosecuted.

If you feel that we can help you, please contact Siobhain Egan.

Suspected crimes concerning historic sexual abuse are among some of the most challenging to handle in the UK justice system. The relevant law in this area will depend on precisely when a crime is alleged to have been committed, and a court case concerning allegations of historic sexual abuse can be incredibly difficult for all those involved.

At Lewis Nedas, we understand that cases involving alleged historic sexual abuse demand careful and expert handling. Our team have a significant amount of experience in assisting clients to defend against allegations of having committed historic sexual abuse. If you are concerned about being accused of having committed historic sexual abuse, contact our specialist defence team today.

What law will apply to a claim for historic sexual abuse?

It is difficult to determine what piece of legislation will apply to claims of historic sexual abuse. Where a crime is alleged to have been committed after 1 May 2004 will be charged under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Suspected crimes to have been committed before 2004 will be dealt with under the Sexual Offences Act 1956.

What crimes are covered by the legislation?

Taken together, both the 2004 and 1956 Acts cover a variety of crimes. Each offence, if charged, carries specific legal and evidential requirements. Some of the principal offences concerning historic sexual abuse include:

1. Rape

This crime concerns intentional penetration without consent. A successful prosecution for rape will carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, but will require strong evidence of the lack of consent.

2. Sexual Assault

As an offence, sexual assault concerns a person intentionally touching someone in a sexual way to which they have not consented. The penalty for this offence will either by the maximum available in the Magistrates’ court, or ten years imprisonment in the Crown Court.

3. Offences against children

This covers a variety of different offences of children below the ages of 18, 16 and 13 including causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity; sexual activity with a child as well as arranging and facilitating a child sex offence. The penalties that are open to the prosecution vary according to the severity of the offence but include an extensive period of imprisonment.  

4. Unlawful sexual intercourse

As a matter of law, the crime of unlawful sexual intercourse relates to intercourse between a man and a girl under the age of 16. It must be said that there are exceptions to this crime, but much will depend on the age of the girl and the existence of any underlying relationship between the parties.    

When dealing with historical claims of sexual abuse, it is not uncommon for the prosecution to bring criminal charges under the 1956 Act. While the 1956 Act has been largely replaced by the 2003 legislation, certain provisions remain active, with distinct legal requirements that the prosecution must meet in order to be successful.

It is important to understand that a delay in the reporting of suspected sexual abuse is not a bar to the police or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) from investigating the complaint, and prosecuting it where there is sufficient supporting evidence.

Regardless as to what piece of legislation will apply, the presumption of innocence of an accused will remain in cases concerning alleged historic sexual abuse. The law places the burden of proof on the prosecuting authorities, to be able to demonstrate that the alleged crime took place. However, the highly sensitive and serious nature of these types of allegations means its necessary to mount as strong a defence as possible.

How can a defence to a claim of historic sexual abuse be made?

The defence to any claims of historic sexual abuse must be comprehensive. In almost all cases there will be little to no evidence (physical or scientific) in support of any allegations. As a result, prosecuting authorities will place a great deal of emphasis on securing convincing pieces of evidence through:

  • Witness statements – these documents will contain the accounts of the complainant, their family/ friends and possible police officers.
  • Third party disclosures – this covers medical reports, psychological evaluations and documentation from social services agencies.

Taken together these different pieces of evidence will contribute a significant amount of material. In order to make a credible defence, and test the resolve of prosecuting authorities to pursue their case, a robust defence statement should be drafted according to a specific defence strategy. The document will normally outline where there are inconsistencies or errors in the prosecuting authority’s case. Furthermore where it is drafted properly, it may prove sufficient to quash any further action being taken against an individual, where significant doubt is cast on prosecutors chances of succeeding at trial. It is therefore vitally important that those accused of historic sexual offences instruct expert criminal defence lawyers, who are familiar with handling allegations of historic sexual abuse.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ specialist defence team for historic sexual abuse allegations in the UK

At Lewis Nedas we have developed specialist knowledge and experience in representing individuals accused of having committed historic sexual abuse. Our team are acutely aware of the impact that being faced with such allegations can have on people, and their families. Our defence team will conduct a comprehensive review of all of the evidence that is being used to support the allegations made against you. Our approach to criminal defence work is distinctive among our competitors, in that we are willing to test prosecutor’s case to its limit: if there are anomalies or weaknesses in any line of argument, our team will expose and exploit it.

If you have been charged with having committed historic sexual abuse and are in need of specialist, effective legal advice, speak to our team today. We will work with you to ensure that you are afforded the best legal representation possible, and will ensure that you are appropriately advised at every stage of legal proceedings. Contact us today and see how we can help you.

The law surrounding the use of technology and conducting criminal activity has undergone a great deal of development in previous years, and is developing into a sophisticated body of rules and regulations. It is broadly reflective of the new and innovative ways that computers are being used to commit crimes that, historically, would have been more difficult to commit.

Here we provide an overview of what cybercrime in the UK is: what it means to commit cybercrime, how it is regulated and what the current state of the law is.

What is cybercrime?

Cybercrime is deemed to be any kind of criminal activity that can be committed through the use of a computer. As a result, there are lots of different kinds of cybercrime, including fraud, hacking, harassment, espionage and sexual offences.

How is cybercrime regulated in the UK?

Cybercrime is not limited by borders and regularly involves international agencies. In the UK, the main regulator of cybercrime is the National Cyber Crime Unit of the National Crime Agency. It is the role of this government agency to police, investigate and prosecute instances of cybercrime that occur in the UK.

What is the law regarding cybercrime?

In terms of any law regarding cybercrime, the most important piece of legislation is the Misuse of Computers Act 1990. This introduced a number of new offences:

 1. Unauthorised access to computer material

This is the lowest level offence under the Act, and one that many people who would not normally consider their actions to be criminal in nature, fall foul of.

If you have ever accessed someone else’s computer system, either by accident or intentionally, you will technically have committed this offence. It is not necessary for you to have altered someone else’s information, e.g. deleted their files. The fact of the matter is that you accessed someone else’s computer without their permission, thereby committing the offence.

2. Unauthorised access with intent to commit or facilitate a crime

This is the next level offence under the Misuse of Computers Act 1990. The distinctive feature of this offence is that you must have accessed someone else’s computer on purpose in order to commit a crime.

This kind of crime would include instances where someone hacks into a bank account with a view to committing fraud. Alternatively it would likely cover an individual gaining access to confidential information regarding a company and its business relationships with suppliers.

3. Unauthorised modification of computer material

Deleting information with the express purpose of causing damage to someone, either an organisation or an individual, attracts criminal liability.

This offence is designed to cover instances where someone knowingly unleashes a virus onto someone else’s computer, damaging or corrupting the information that it comes into contact with.

4. Making, supplying or obtaining information which can be used in computer misuse offences

This offence is quite broad and means that anyone that is caught in any stage of the process of aiding in the commission of cybercrime will be liable as having committed an offence.

This offence is designed to catch individuals or organisations that are involved in the creation or collation of dangerous programmes i.e. viruses (spyware etc.) that are to be released onto a computer or computer network.  

What kind of penalties are there?

The penalties for engaging in cybercrime vary, depending on their severity. The lowest offence under the Misuse of the Computers Act carries a penalty of a maximum of six months imprisonment alongside the imposition of a fine. All other offences can attract up to five years imprisonment and a significant, or in some circumstances, unlimited fine.

Are there any other areas to be aware of?

Technology has created a variety of opportunities for individuals to engage in criminal conduct. As a result, there are a number of pieces of legislation that have been created to cover specific instances of criminal activity. One kind of cybercrime where there has been increased regulation of technology is in relation to pornographic images.

Accessing pornographic or indecent images online

Accessing indecent images online is a very delicate area of criminal law, and as a result, is dealt with under a completely different pieces of legislation, including the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, the Protection of Children Act 1978, the Criminal Justice Act 1988, the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and, in more serious cases, the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Under the 2008 Act it is illegal to be in possession of any material - photographs, films and particularly computer data on a hard drive –that is of an extreme pornographic nature. Individuals are also increasingly being targeted by criminal law agencies for accessing child abuse images online. Offences include: making, distributing, showing or advertising any indecent photo of a child under the Protection of Children Act 1978; possessing an indecent photo of a child under the Criminal Justice Act 1988; and, possessing a prohibited image, such as drawings or cartoons, of a child under the the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

While it may not be considered to be part of traditional computer crime, the possession of extreme pornographic imagery or indecent images is very much a major feature of anti-cybercrime legislation and is taken very seriously by regulatory authorities and the police. If you have been, or believe you may be, investigated by the police in relation to accessing illegal images online it is vital you get legal advice as soon as possible.

Cybercrime Legal Advice & Criminal Defence

Cybercrime law is arguably the most progressive and most complex area of the law to understand. Owing to the rapid development of technology, this area of the law is under constant review and changes regularly. It is incredibly important that if you are affected by cybercrime in any way, you seek the advice of specialist lawyers who have experience of dealing with the rules and regulations in the field.

Here at Lewis Nedas, we have a dedicated team of expert cybercrime lawyers. We have many years of experience in advising clients who have become involved in cybercrime investigations, and are regularly instructed to represent. We will work in partnership with you to ensure that you are advised on how you may be affected by the law in this field, and answer any questions that you may have. Please contact us, we are here to help.

Prosecutions for fare evasion are on the increase. Such prosecutions are regularly brought by Railway companies from across the United Kingdom and Transport For London (including London Underground, London Overground and London Buses).

Latest Updates: Fare Evasion in London

Railway & Transport Fare Evasion Solicitors London

Criminal Prosecutions, until recently, have been relatively infrequent and in the majority of cases if someone had travelled without a valid ticket and there was an opportunity to buy one they would ordinarily have received a penalty fare or been issued with an Unpaid Fare Notice.

However, Fare Evasion costs rail companies millions of pounds each year ,and both the companies and government are determined to do something about it . Since the Joint Prosecuting Protocol( July 2015) prosecutors and rail companies view persistent fare evasion as fraud and prosecute accordingly .

The prosecution authorities are also taking a more hard line approach to matters of fare evasion and prosecutions are routinely bought under the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 and the Fraud Act 2006.

Prosecutions are brought if the prosecuting authorities suspect an individual of having deliberately avoided to pay a fare.

An individual might be accused of travelling with intent to avoid paying a fare if they:

  • Did not buy a ticket and travel without a ticket
  • Deliberately avoid a ticket inspector
  • Travel on a ticket/oyster card issued to another person
  • Intentionally travel further than the ticket/oyster card allows them to
  • Jump over or deliberately pass through ticket barriers without paying

The list above is not exclusive and there are other circumstances where prosecutions may follow.

In February 2017, the Government following a Consultation announced a 'wholesale shift to access justice digitally , this will allow those facing a ,currently ,limited number of supposedly low level criminal offences to be dealt with online .One of these offences is fare evasion. 

An individual facing an allegation of fare evasion only has to click onto the website , enter a guilty plea and receive a pre determined fine and compensation order AND a criminal conviction . The Government stresses that this system is entirely voluntary and is NOT suitable for those who wish the prosecuting authorities to take MITIGATING circumstances into account.

The approach to prosecuting fare evasion has been the subject of recent high publicity cases where individuals and in particular professionals have been prosecuted for travelling on the railways for a number of years without a valid ticket/travel card.   This has resulted in prosecutions under the Railway Regulations Act and linked civil proceedings for the recovery of monies for fares avoided over a considerable period of time.

The consequences of a conviction for fare evasion can have disastrous consequences for all individuals and in particular professionals for whom convictions would result in notifications to their professional & regulatory bodies of any convictions of any offences involving dishonesty.

With the stakes as high as they are it is imperative that anyone facing prosecution for fare evasion receives expert and specialist advice at an early stage of proceedings and at Lewis Nedas Law we are able to provide that thorough and comprehensive advice.

If prosecutions are brought either by the railways or Transport For London it is imperative that individuals seek advice on the bringing of those proceedings.  It is often necessary to make robust and specific written representations to the prosecuting authorities prior to a court appearance and invite the authorities based on the specific circumstances of an individual’s case that as an alternative to a prosecution an individual could enter into a written agreement not to repeat the conduct alleged and to pay the costs of the prosecution to date.

The entering into such an agreement avoids the case proceeding to court and crucially for the individual stops the possibility of them receiving a criminal record for an offence of fare evasion.

What should I do if stopped by a ticket inspector?

First of all stay calm ... don't make up a silly or false explanation .... answer their questions honestly and in full .
Remember they are not trained police officers and they can often make important mistakes when noting responses and gathering evidence , which you should scrutinise carefully for accuracy .

Most rail authorities ( but by no means all ) will write to you within a few weeks , and send a letter entitled Notice of Intended Prosecution ,... please do NOT ignore this letter . It's vital that you respond promptly and it's a good time to consult a genuinely experienced solicitor.
This is your opportunity to try and deflect the prosecution and to persuade the prosecution to agree to an out of court settlement .
If you ignore the original letter then the next correspondence that you will receive will be a Court Summons .

How can we help?

As highly experienced and successful criminal ,fraud and regulatory specialist defence lawyers , we adopt a legalistic approach to these cases .
We have established working relationships with most of the Country's rail authorities and understand immediately what mitigation will appeal to the prosecutors . Our approach genuinely works in the overwhelming majority of cases , one of our colleagues has only lost one case in three years and was the lawyer who defended the leading case in this field. We are specialists in this area of law and have dealt with prosecutions brought by the major bus and train companies all over the UK.  We are familiar with their policies and have in depth knowledge of the approach to take with each authority that prosecutes a range of offences connected with fare evasion.

We are further specialists in advising individuals who are likely to be banned or disqualified from practice and/or facing regulatory (eg FCA  or another professional body) and employment or disciplinary proceedings as a result of a successful prosecution.

Our lawyers are  experts when defending cases that do end up in court and proceed to trial.  We employ specialist counsel with in depth knowledge of the defences available to individuals facing these proceedings and are able to offer tailored advice to the individual needs of each client.

Lewis Nedas Law is able to deal with any fare evasion enquiry and we offer our services at competitive rates and/or fixed fees.  You can be assured you will be advised by an experienced solicitor who will deal with your case throughout.

How much will it cost?

We do charge , and give an accurate estimate of the range of legal costs involved from the outset .
We do not offer a fixed fee basis of costs , this is because most cases take a great deal of time and care . We want to do the very best that we can for you , because we fully understand what is at risk for you .We are a legal business ,and as solicitors sell our time and expertise .
Some cases involve quite complex mitigation and that can take time .

Currently most rail companies when assessing the cost of an out of court settlement will calculate as follows:
The cost of the missing rail fares and a contribution towards their investigative and legal costs .It is still a relatively small price to pay when your professional future is at stake .

Fare Evasion Legal Advice

Don’t dismiss this type of proceedings as inconsequential, in fact quite to the contrary. These offences are regarded as dishonesty  offences and if convicted you will have a  criminal record which you will have to declare for insurance, employment and even visa purposes. Call us on 02073872032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

Our Specialist Lawyers

Our team of expert solicitors in this area includes: Siobhain Egan, Miles Herman.

Contact Fare Evasion Solicitors London, UK

With offices in Camden and Fleet Street, we advise and represent individuals throughout London and across the UK. For further information or to speak directly to a solicitor please telephone us on 0207 387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form.

Latest blog on Fare Evasion: Fare Evasion ....online (in)justice on the horizon?

The need to continually update drug policy has made it a particularly volatile area of the criminal law. The purpose of drug-related crimes is to prevent drug abuse. Drugs are therefore categorised according to the degree of harm likely to be caused by their use, and the higher the category, the greater the penalty for the drug-related crime. Being found in possession of a controlled drug in any of these given categories can have significant consequences, and may involve either a period of imprisonment or a fine, or a combination of the two.

Here we provide an overview of the law regarding drugs: its sourcing, possession and supply to others.

How are drugs classified?

The most important piece of legislation that is relevant to drug crimes in England and Wales is The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. This Act deals exclusively with what are known as ‘controlled’ drugs, which are those which are deemed too dangerous to the general public to be left unregulated. The Act divides Drugs into three different categories:

  • Class A Drugs: these are regarded as the most dangerous of drugs and includes cocaine, heroin, crystal meth and ecstacy. It is important to be aware that any Class B drug that is injected, will be deemed as a Class A drug.
  • Class B Drugs: this classification covers, amongst others, cannabis, ketamine and amphetamine. New drugs deemed harmful that are classified and criminalised by a Temporary Class Drug Order also fall within Class B.
  • Class C Drugs: this category includes mild tranquilisers and anabolic steroids.

What are the crimes?

The Misuse of Drugs Act details a series of crimes that are centred around the different categories of drugs. These include:

  1. Possession of a controlled drug;
  2. Possession with intent to supply another person;
  3. Production, cultivation or manufacture of controlled drugs;
  4. Supplying another person with a controlled drug;
  5. Offering to supply another person with a controlled drug;
  6. Import or export of controlled drugs; and
  7. Allowing premises you occupy or manage to be used for the consumption of controlled drugs or the supply or production of controlled drugs.

For the most part, it will be for prosecuting authorities –the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the police –to prove the accused is guilty of the relevant offence.

The law takes a very dim view of anyone that allows premises they own or manage to be used in connection with controlled drugs. If your premises are being used by squatters to commit drug related crimes, you will still be liable for the offence. You will be held responsible for what happens with your property. The important point to note is that as a matter of law, it must be proven that you had knowledge that your property was being used in connection with controlled drugs. Choosing to ignore evidence that your properties are being used in connection with controlled drugs will not be treated favourably by the courts or prosecuting authorities.

What are the penalties?

The penalties concerning drug crimes will ultimately depend on the class of the drug in question and the nature of the offence charged.

Class A drugs are deemed the most dangerous, and so any crime that involves them will likely be more severe than that involving a drug of a lesser classification. However, the penalty that is likely to be administered will also depend on the nature of the crime: there are more serious penalties for supplying or attempting to supply a controlled drug than there are for possession.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, the penalties for crimes are currently as follows:

Drug Classification

Possession

Supply

A

7 years imprisonment and a fine

Life imprisonment and a fine

B

5 years imprisonment and a fine

14 years imprisonment and a fine

C

2 years imprisonment and a fine

14 years imprisonment and a fine

Are there any exceptions?

Generally there are no exceptions to being found in possession or supplying controlled drugs. The law is very stringent and leaves very little room for manoeuvre or interpretation.

It is not uncommon that people are confused as to whether or not certain drugs can be used for medical treatment, particularly around the use or supplying of cannabis (a Class B drug). While there are some arguments to support its medicinal use, under the law in England & Wales it is illegal to attempt to use any controlled drug, including cannabis, as medication.

There are many drugs that can be used as medication, but these are strictly regulated under the Medicines Act 1968 and are classified differently.

Drug crime is very heavily regulated and policed in England & Wales. The authorities have a number of powers that allow them to conduct investigations if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that someone is in possession of, or are engaging in the supply of, controlled drugs.

Drug-related Offences - Criminal Defence Lawyers

At Lewis Nedas, we have a wealth of experience in advising on drug-related offences. Our specialist criminal lawyers are regularly involved in representing clients in court, and in constructing a robust defence if the need should arise. We will work with you to ensure that you are advised on this area of the law, and will be able to answer any questions that you may have. If you have any concerns, please contact us.

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