Old Bailey Solicitors

Utilising Online Messaging as Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases

Online Messaging in Sexual Assault Case

Sexual assault is a serious crime that can have severe and long-lasting consequences for both the victim and the accused. In cases of sexual assault, proving consent can often be a challenge for both the prosecution and the defence. However, with the use of technology ever increasing in criminal matters, online messaging can more than ever be used as evidence to assist in the proof of consent in sexual assault cases.

At Old Bailey Solicitors, we work regularly with a network of thorough and reputable digital forensic experts who have extensive experience in handling sexual assault cases. Our solicitors can instruct these experts, who can often offer valuable insights into and support for a strong defence case through analysis of mobile phone messaging and other social media communications.

Sexual Offences Act 2003

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 defines sexual assault as any non-consensual sexual act, including penetration (except with a penis, as this classifies as rape) or touching. The act also recognizes that consent is a crucial element in any sexual activity, and a person cannot consent if they are asleep, unconscious, or, in many circumstances, under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Proving consent can be challenging in sexual assault cases, and this is where technology can play a significant role.

The Act states that a person consents to an activity if they agree by choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. This means that consent cannot be obtained through force, threat or deception. Furthermore, consent can be withdrawn at any time and any sexual activity that takes place without consent is considered a crime.

It is important to remember that consent is not just about saying yes, but also about making sure that both parties have the capacity to make a free and informed decision. This means that if someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol they may not be able to give full and informed consent. Likewise, the law recognises that children cannot consent to sexual activity.

Using Online Messaging to Prove Consent

In recent years, the use of online messaging has become increasingly popular, with many people communicating through text messages, social media, and instant messaging apps. This trend has significant implications for sexual assault cases, as these messages can provide valuable evidence to prove or disprove consent.

Proving consent is a critical element in any sexual assault case. With the increasing use of technology, online messaging can be used as evidence to establish whether consent was given.

Our law firm has dealt with a wide variety of sexual assault cases that involve online messaging.

Most recently, our experienced solicitors were instructed to represent a client at the police station who had been accused of rape. The client contacted us directly explaining that he has been asked to attend a voluntary police station interview as an allegation of rape had been made against him.

Our solicitors contacted the investigating officer and requested the details of the allegation be provided ahead of time in order to allow for the client an opportunity to understand the allegation he was facing before arriving at the police station for his voluntary interview.

Our solicitors had the opportunity to ask the investigating officers questions about the allegation prior to attending the interview. This allowed for the solicitor to get a better understanding of the evidence against our client in this case.

Our client explained that the complainant was a friend that he has known for over 20 years. He explained that the relationship with this friend was never romantic. However, more recently she has been experiencing issues with her partner and sought advice from our client. On the evening in question the complainant arrived at our client’s home and made sexual advances towards him.

In her allegation to the police, she explained that she had not consented to the sexual activity with our client and that he had forced himself on her and raped her.

Our solicitor produced the WhatsApp messages between the complainant and our client to the police in interview to assert that the sexual encounter was indeed consensual.

The messages revealed that the complainant had acknowledged her consent after the sexual encounter occurred. The text messages read she was ashamed for cheating on her partner and would be ‘laying low’ in order to avoid her partner’s suspicion.

As a result of our solicitor’s decision to disclose the client’s WhatsApp messages to the investigating officer at an early stage, the decision was made to take no further action on the case.

How We Can Help

At Old Bailey Solicitors, we understand that sexual assault cases can be extremely distressing for all involved. Our team of experienced criminal defence lawyers have a proven track record of handling sexual assault cases and can provide you with the legal expertise and emotional support you need throughout the process. We will work tirelessly to protect you and your interests. Please contact us today if you are in need of clear-cut, honest and discreet legal advice.

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Kelsey Reid


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