The Court of Appeal have ruled on an appeal involving an arrangement to commit a child sexual offence



The Appellant was convicted of arranging the commission of a child sex offence, contrary to section 14(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. He had been working abroad and engaged in email correspondence and telephone calls with undercover police officers purporting to have parental responsibility for an 8 year old girl. On return to the UK, the appellant was arrested. Indecent images of children were found on his seized laptop and hard drive. He denied the intent to commit any sexual offence with a child and admitted possession of the images although it was common ground that they were deleted and largely inaccessible by the time of his return to the UK.

The Appellant appealed against conviction on the grounds that a) the case should have been dismissed; b) the trial judge should have ruled that there was no case to answer; c) the trial judge should have ordered the prosecution to disclose information about similar investigations; and d) the trial judge should not have allowed the jury to hear about the indecent images on the laptop and hard drive.

The full Court gave leave to appeal on the grounds relating to dismissal and no case based on the argument that the trial judge could not rule out other explanations for the Appellant’s email correspondence including loneliness and fantasy. However the appeal was dismissed because on the particular facts of the case: for example, the content of some emails, the duration of the correspondence and emails sent on the journey back to the UK, there was sufficient evidence for a jury to reasonably infer the necessary intent and be sure of guilt.

R v R (2008) EWCA Crim 619 relied upon.
R v G and F (2012) EWCA 1756 distinguished.

Emily Verity was instructed by Clarke Kiernan.

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