Sexual Offences

We are at the forefront of the education of the profession and developments and changes to the law in this field; members are frequently selected for their tactical expertise, accomplished advocacy and sensitive, discreet approach. 


QEB Hollis Whiteman has an outstanding track record for all cases involving Sexual Offences but most notably for very difficult cases including historic sexual abuse, serious sexual violence and trafficking. Our experience includes acting for professionals charged with sexual offending towards those in their care and cases with multiple complainants. We have specialist knowledge regarding the handling of vulnerable witnesses and defendants. We are also particularly alive to the need to deal promptly but comprehensively with disclosure issues, which are often complex and highly problematic in cases of this nature.

Our Experience

Members of QEB Hollis Whiteman have been involved in most of the recent high-profile trials and appeals including: R v D (the successful Defence of the only Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) case to be prosecuted to date); Adam Johnson and Ched Evans (both Appeals); the Prosecution of Greville Janner; and the landmark Cases of R v F (2013) EWCA Crim 424 (on Competency Hearings) and R v Butler (2015) (approach to Historic Third-Party Material). Other recent cases include a US Investment Banker (charged with Attempted Rape and Sexual Assault); a Celebrity Masseuse (charged with 21 counts of Sexual Assault on 18 women); and a doctor who was acquitted of sexually abusing a patient.

Members regularly advise pre-charge, and frequently do so for well-known individuals being investigated for Sexual Offences. Our work has included assisting with the drafting of letters of representation to the police or CPS. Given our strength in regulatory work, we are well placed to act for professionals who are facing prosecution for such offences including doctors, headteachers, teachers and the police. We are valued for our sensitivity and discretion.

We have been involved in two of the most significant investigations of recent times: the Haut de la Garenne Children’s Home Investigation in Jersey and Operation Pallial (the North Wales Child Abuse Investigation) - the UK’s largest investigation into historic sexual abuse. Furthermore, three members of Chambers have been instructed for core participants in the ongoing independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (formerly the Goddard Inquiry). 

A number of members of Chambers are recorders with serious sexual offences tickets, and others sit on the General Medical and General Dental Councils as legal assessors. They deal with the assessment and application of the law and industry regulations in this ever-complex field.

Chambers is at the forefront of vulnerable witness training, with Bar Council-trained lead facilitators and facilitators numbered amongst its members. team members have provided lectures on topics such as s.28 (video-recorded hearings), recovered memory, child exploitation cases and vulnerable witness training to the Bar, including the Criminal Bar Association, South East Circuit and outside agencies including the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command, paediatricians and advocates abroad. We delivered the new vulnerable witnesses course to Jersey advocates, and we are running in-house seminars about the new regime for instructing solicitors. We have provided similar training for regulatory bodies; members have delivered a full-day training course on vulnerable witnesses for the GMC.

Members of Chambers frequently write and contribute to publications. Eleanor Laws QC is the author of the Sexual Offences Referencer, the seminal text on indictments and sentencing in sex cases from 1950 to date. Members have also contributed to the Vulnerable Witnesses Legal Research Paper, included in the vulnerable witnesses training package for the Bar and Judiciary.


Recent Cases

R v Dr Shah (2019)

Zoe Johnson QC represented Dr Manish Shah, a GP practising in Romford . He was convicted of...

R v McPaul (Niall) (2019)

Eleanor Laws QC defends Oxford medical student acquitted of rape. Niall McPaul, an Oxford medical...

R v Allen (2019)

John Allen was the owner of a number of care homes in North Wales. Eleanor Laws QC prosecuted...

R v P (2019)

Eleanor Laws QC successfully defended client charged with serious sexual offences over a 10 year...

Successful defence of a GP facing serious sexual offences

Dr J faced serious sexual offences over a 10 year period. The trial involved the review of a...


Rape conviction quashed in the court of appeal

Edward Henry QC (instructed by Shaw Graham Kersh ) succeeded in overturning a wrongful conviction...

Successful defence of a GP facing serious sexual offences

Dr J faced serious sexual offences over a 10 year period. The trial involved the review of a...


The Science of Memory and Admissibility of Expert Memory Evidence

On the 16th May Eleanor Laws QC and Dr Julia Shaw presented a seminar exploring memories as evidence in legal proceedings. Dr Shaw discussed the science behind false memories, self-deception and how our memory system really works, with consideration...

"Incompetent Competency Hearings" - Counsel Magazine (2014)

Eleanor Laws QC considers the case of R v F in the context of the changes in the way that courts are dealing with vulnerable witnesses. 

CBA Lecture on Recovered Memory - (2013)

Eleanor Laws QC delivered a lecture to the CBA in June 2013 on the admissibility of expert evidence on recovered memory in criminal trials.

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