Keith Jones recently secured an acquittal at trial in the matter of a grandfather accused of sexually assaulting his 13 year old granddaughter.
The trial involved a s.28 procedure cross-examination of the complainant and the highest levels of support for a vulnerable witness were provided by the procedures at court.
The allegation was made after the complainant had a sex education class in school. In that class, sensibly, the topic of sexual assault had been explored. This forms a part of the safeguarding guidelines used in schools, to enable children to recognise when they are being sexually abused and to empower them to make disclosures to those who may help them to escape the offending.
The touching that was alleged was that her grandad had touched the complainant’s bottom – one of the scenarios included in the lesson at school. The defence was that any touching of the complainant’s bottom was not sexual and was part of normal everyday contact.
The jury was not persuaded of the prosecution’s case, after careful and sensitive cross-examination. The defendant was acquitted by majority.