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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 33283
Experience:  family solictor with 25 years experience
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Second opinion] - I was convicted of possession of child

Customer Question

Second opinion] - I was convicted of possession of child pornography in August and Sentenced to One Year Suspended for Two Years, with Two Years Probation and a Ten Year S.O.P.OI have two questions...(1) Does "...in the course of lawful daily life" include going to Church and other Church meetings? (Some of which are in people's homes.) This is massive and very important part of my life and, as I have not abused or groomed anyone under 16, I cannot see how they could fairly restrict this.(2) Can I Appeal to have the S.O.P.O. Amended and also the Ten Year S.O.P.O. changed to Five Years?
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: UK Law
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I am currently on the Register for the same time as my ten year SOPO)
Expert:  Clare replied 15 days ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help you

Attending a Church service could be brought within the description "in the course of lawful daily life" but I fear you will need to inform the nominated safeguarding person at church - and you should ensure that you do not become involved with any out of church outings or organisations - and be careful not to engage chidlren in conversation.

You should not attend any Church meetings in other peoples homes where they are or could be children present.

You can appeal - but please do not use the argument "I have not abused or groomed anyone under 16," as this would be seen as denying the serious nature of your offence which would not encourage the court to reduce the time involved

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thank you very much for your reply, Clare.But surely I have a perfect right to family life and meeting people both at Church and in their homes, beyond even Church meetings in peoples' homes. I do accept such restrictions at all and, had my Lawyers told me of the terms of the Conditions, I would've Challenged them at my Sentencing. I am not allowing my life to be ruined and not being allowed to be around Children, when I am no danger to them, and most certainly when there are always their Parents or Guardians around. On top, of this the two relevant Safeguarding Officers agree that they are happy for me to be at Church Meetings, including in peoples' homes. All parents and other Members of the Churches have also been informed of my Conviction and Sentence.How much experience do you have of similar cases, please, and have you ever Appealed such Conditions?
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
that should read,2I do not accept such restrictions")
Expert:  Clare replied 15 days ago.

I am very sorry but the nature of your conviction means that so far as the law is concerned your rights have been forfeited so far as your contact with children is concerned. I do apologise for being blunt but this is the reality of your conviction for this offence.

The support of the Safeguarding Officers is tremendous and should keep you safe in Church but they cannot overrule the SOPO when it comes to private homes.

I have dealt with a number of cases involving Care Proceedings in respect of children whose family included men in your position - and whilst there have been successes it does depend on the person involved being able to be "contrite" in all dealings with the Authorities and being realistic in what they hope to achieve.

Appealing to reduce the time could succeed - appealing to have it removed altogether will not.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thank you very much. Those answers are a lot more reasonable and balanced than the previous Solicitor's replies.Can you give me any advice regarding the wording of my Appeal over the Conditions surrounding Church Meetings (both at Church and in peoples' homes) and also getting the 10 Year SOPO Reduced to 5 years?
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I do not accept at all that I have "forfeited my right" to be around children. I have no history of grooming, molestation or any other sort of child abuse. Viewing online pornography does not make me a danger to children and that jump should never been assumed. I was not convicted of any offence against children and I never have been.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Smith v Crown is very relevant as a Precedent Case study quite similar to my own.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I await your further comments
Expert:  Clare replied 15 days ago.

Again I will be very blunt - you watched a child being abused online - the fact that you willingly did that makes you a risk to children in general but arguably not to a specific child 9a strange argument but it could be worth using)

Being even blunter the fact that you do not appreciate the serious nature of what you have done is the real problem and you must start using correct wording if you wish an appeal to succeed.

You need to give up on the idea of going to meetings in private houses where there are children involved.

However in terms of services you can show that you have done everything correctly. You have the support of the Safeguarding Officers and the congregation have been informed.

You can then go on to say that as a mark of your respect for the serious nature etc etc etc you are willing to accept the five year order and to willingly accept that meetings in private homes would be inappropriate - which makes a virtue out of not asking for what you wont get anyway

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thank you for your further reply and explanations.I should point out that 99.75% of the images found were not Cat A or Cat B, but Cat C, many or all of which should never be classified as Illegal in the first place (not that I would say that to a Judge or put that in my Appeal, of course.)Again, I do not understand the issue, so long as I am not alone with a child.My Bail Conditions for a year were that I should have unsupervised access with any child under 18, then changed to under 16, after my Conviction, prior to Sentencing. I have not been a Risk to Children all of my life, so why would I suddenly be a Risk to Children for Ten Years (or even Five Years.)"Attraction" to someone or a lady or a younger lady does not mean you will go on to abuse that person, nor anyone else.Furthermore, viewing online pornography rarely leads to actual sexual abuse, as has been proven by many studies.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I will not accept, and will never accept, that visiting peoples' home when other adults, parents and guardians will constantly be around, should be an issue.I will not tolerate any Breach of my Human Rights to live a peaceful, lawful life, which includes family and church life, both on Sunday and during the week and weekend.This is not negotiable.
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I am not criticising your knowledge btw, I am just emphasizing I will also Appeal to the High Court and European Court, if that is what it takes)
Expert:  Clare replied 14 days ago.

Again I am going to be very blunt with you

Whilst I agree with you about the connection between Pornography and abuse I am afraid that again you are not fully facing the nature of your offence.

Adult pronography can be made using consenting adults.

The images you viewed did not involve consent and as such you have participated albeit remotely in the abuse of children.

Your comments about the nature of the images again demonstrate that you do not accept or appreciate that the children involved were victims of abuse

In addition attraction to those under the age of 16 has very different social ramifications that attraction to those of either sex above that age.

In the eyes of Social Services (and the police) the fact that parents are willing to allow you near their children raises a question mark about their ability or willingness to protect them and their understanding of the nature of abuse

I am aware that you do not accept that you should be restricted - and paradoxically it is quite probably that fact in itself that led to 10 years rather than 5

Your best chance of success in appealing the matter is to show attendance of this course

http://www.lucyfaithfull.org.uk/inform_plus.htm

It is what worked in the cases I was involved with

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you once again. I already know about the Lucy Faithful courses and I've also previously been to an Assessment Interview. The cost is now £700 or £800 to travelling costsI have rated you as Excellent.How many questions/opinions I am allowed to ask you for in relation to my original questions, please?
Expert:  Clare replied 14 days ago.

You can keep asking follow ups all you like

I am aware of the cost of the course - but the benefit to you incalculable!

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I get that now. My Police SOPO Supervisor has said they may be able to pay for it for me, so I will ask at my Probation Interview on Wednesday. Lucy Faithfull offered to do the course with me one-to-one.
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Would it be please okay to post my Draft Appeal Summary for you to critique and ask for suggestions for?I've only written a Draft for my Church Elders at the moment.
Expert:  Clare replied 14 days ago.

You really need to do that course - and of course I will review it for you

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thank you.
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
As you know, there are Time Limits to Appealing your Sentence, so I don't think I can wait until I have completed the course with Lucy Faithfull.
Expert:  Clare replied 14 days ago.

I am aware - but saying that you are booked on it will go a long way

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
although I wrote to both the Senior Court Clerk and the Crown Court Judge in my case, including my key questions over attendance at Church Meetings on Sundays and Weekday Evenings, they simply referred me to consult my Solicitors again. The Court Clerk than added the very brief statement that "the Order is clearly worded"!And yet, almost anyone reading it, can see that it patently is not entirely clear at all, but ambiguous as well as unclear in parts!So, unfortunately, it looks like I will have to Appeal this part of my Conditions for the following eight reasons:1. To force definitive Clarification of what these particular Conditions are meant to actually mean, particularly in my individual circumstances, especially in relation to myself attending Church Meetings;2. If they are defined and interpreted too strictly or Legalistically, then I cannot accept that part of my Conditions as being either fair, justified, proportional, reasonable or right (aside from the huge negative impact this would have on my life for up to ten years!);3. From my research, these "Conditions" surrounding being around Children, do not appear to be fully explained anywhere, even on Google or Bing!;4. From my research, I have discovered that it is the Police and/or Crown Prosecution Service who draft these "Conditions", not the Judge;5. The Crown Court Judge did not tell me what my actual "Conditions" would be from the moment I was Sentenced. It appears this still happens to most, if not all, Defendants.6. Since my Conviction and Sentencing, it is also now apparent that my Lawyers should have shared the "Conditions" with me before my Sentencing, in order for me to either Accept or Reject them7. Despite myself also requesting my Lawyers to give me their own interpretation of these "Conditions", they have failed to do so. They appear unwilling to commit to sharing their own understanding of these "Conditions."8. From my research, it appears that Judges repeatedly hand-down and basically rubber-stamp the same or almost identical "Conditions", without anyone being able to easily question or challenge them, either before, during or after Proceedings in Court, other than by Defendants' Lawyers who rarely appear to do so, but rather agree "Conditions" with the Prosecution (CPS/Police) without Consulting the Defendant as to whether they could accept these "Conditions" or not. If this opportunity to Challenge or Question was given, it would save a whole world of anxiety, confusion and concern about what one is Allowed to do and what one is Prohibited from doing.Hope that all makes sense to you! It took me a few months to get my head around it all...
Expert:  Clare replied 14 days ago.

Ok

First read this

http://www.onepaper.co.uk/N6_SOPOs.pdf

This will give you the framework for objections -use it to give the structure of the objections you wish to raise.

Remember no whining about fairness - simple build around the guidelines given

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Thanks again
Expert:  Clare replied 14 days ago.

You are welcome - can i ask you please to use the star rating system as otherwise I get no credit for my time!

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
I did use it y/day and give you Five Stars, Clare, and I got Charged £46 on top of my £3 Deposit.
Expert:  Clare replied 14 days ago.

Oh - not usre where that has gone but very many thanks

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Probably pending whilst being processed by the website, I guess
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
You've been very helpful, thanks. I am looking forward to getting your opinion of my actual Appeal Draft.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I am not sure what order to put my Appeal points in, but I guess you can easily suggest the order after I have finished them;I am also unsure as to how to refer to the lack of clarity in my Conditions, as my Appeal partly relies upon a Legalistic interpretation of them (although I believe this is key in my Case, as this is the current position of the Professionals involved in my Case.)
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
When I say, "relies upon", I mean that I am both Challenging the interpretation AND - at least partly, if necessary - also Challenging the Conditions. Given the Conditions were formulated by the Police/CPS and then interpreted by the same, I believe I have to address those interpretations, which I believe or either incorrect, or those Conditions should be Amended.)I hope that makes sense. I am feeling very heady today (I have Bi-Polar and CFS), so I probably won't be able to finish writing my Draft today.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I guess I will need to write something on the lines of "...Having discussed my Conditions surrounding myself attending Church on Sundays, and also in family homes for Church meetings mid-week, where adults will always be present (to wit, Parents and Guardians), my Probation Officer and myself were of the view that going to Church should not be something which is Prohibited for me. We both agreed that it was common-sense that "...in the Course of Lawful Daily Life" either does include, or should include, going to Church on Sundays and also to mid-week events, as all such activities are both "Lawful" and part of "Daily Life."
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I think I have a very good idea...
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Proposition: That my current Conditions surrounding Children should be Amended or given Caveats on the following lines or similar such wording..."In regard to Attendance at Sunday Church Meetings, it is recognised by the Court that this forms part of "Lawful Daily Life."The Subject of these Conditions is therefore Permitted to Attend Sunday Church Meetings on the following basis:(1) That the Subject of these Conditions is not Permitted to be Alone with any Child or Children under the Age of 16 at any time, other than is Unavoidable or Inadvertent. In order to practically assist with this, the Subject of these Conditions is to have an Appointed Chaperone whilst they are at Church.(2) That the Subject of these Conditions is Permitted to only have brief, casual Conversations with Children when other Adults are also Present, other than Inadvertent or Necessary brief social Conversation with any Child or Children that is not Reasonably Avoidable.(3) That there is Agreement with the Church's Safeguarding Officer, Probation Officer and Sex Offender Manager, that they are willing that the Subject of these Conditions can Attend Sunday Church Meetings on this basis."In regard to Attending Church Meetings Mid-Week in peoples' homes, it is further recognised by the Court that this forms part of "Lawful Daily Life."The Subject of these Conditions is therefore Permitted to Attend Mid-Week Church Meetings on the following basis:"In regard to Attendance at Sunday Church Meetings, it is recognised by the Court that this forms part of "Lawful Daily Life." The Subject of these Conditions is therefore Permitted to Attend Sunday Church Meetings on the following basis:(1) That the Subject of these Conditions is not Permitted to be Alone with any Child or Children under the Age of 16 at any time, other than is Unavoidable or Inadvertent. In order to practically assist with this, the Subject of these Conditions is to have an Appointed Chaperone whilst they are at Church.(2) (a) That the Subject of these Conditions is Permitted to only have brief, casual Conversations with Children when other Adults are also Present, other than Inadvertent or Necessary brief social Conversation with any Child or Children that is not Reasonably Avoidable.(2) (b) That where the Subject of these Conditions is temporarily attending a home where a Child or Children may be sleeping upstairs, they are not Permitted to go upstairs for any reason, including using any upstairs bathroom or toilet, other than in exceptional circumstances and emergencies.(3) That there is Agreement with the Church's Safeguarding Officer, Probation Officer and Sex Offender Manager, that they are willing that the Subject of these Conditions can Attend Mid-Week Church Meetings on this basis.Is that any good?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Slightly better worded version here...Proposition: That my current Conditions surrounding Children should be Amended or given Caveats on the following lines or similar such wording..."In regard to Attendance at Sunday Church Meetings, it is recognised by the Court that this forms part of "Lawful Daily Life."The Subject of these Conditions is therefore Permitted to Attend Sunday Church Meetings on the following basis:(1) That the Subject of these Conditions is not Permitted to be Alone with any Child or Children under the Age of 16 at any time, other than that which is very brief and either Unavoidable or Inadvertent. In order to practically assist with this, the Subject of these Conditions is to have an Appointed Chaperone whilst they are at Church.(2) That the Subject of these Conditions is Permitted to only have brief, casual Conversations with Children when other Adults are also Present, other than Inadvertent or Necessary brief social Conversation with any Child or Children that is not Reasonably Avoidable.(3) That there is Agreement with the Church's Safeguarding Officer, Probation Officer and Sex Offender Manager, that they are willing that the Subject of these Conditions can Attend Sunday Church Meetings on this basis."In regard to Attending Church Meetings Mid-Week in peoples' homes, it is further recognised by the Court that this forms part of "Lawful Daily Life."The Subject of these Conditions is therefore Permitted to Attend Mid-Week Church Meetings on the following basis:"In regard to Attendance at Sunday Church Meetings, it is recognised by the Court that this forms part of "Lawful Daily Life." The Subject of these Conditions is therefore Permitted to Attend Sunday Church Meetings on the following basis:(1) That the Subject of these Conditions is not Permitted to be Alone with any Child or Children under the Age of 16 at any time, other than that which is very brief and either Unavoidable or Inadvertent. In order to practically assist with this, the Subject of these Conditions is to have an Appointed Chaperone whilst they are at Mid-Week Church Meetings.(2) (a) That the Subject of these Conditions is Permitted to only have brief, casual Conversations with Children when other Adults are also Present, other than Inadvertent or Necessary brief social Conversation with any Child or Children that is not Reasonably Avoidable.(2) (b) That where the Subject of these Conditions is temporarily attending a home where a Child or Children may be sleeping upstairs, they are not Permitted to go upstairs for any reason, including using any upstairs bathroom or toilet, other than in exceptional circumstances and emergencies.(3) That there is Agreement with the Church's Safeguarding Officer, Probation Officer and Sex Offender Manager, that they are willing that the Subject of these Conditions can Attend Mid-Week Church Meetings on this basis."
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
please ignore the above) - Here is my Final Draft...Proposition: That my current Conditions surrounding Children should be Amended or given Caveats on the following lines or similar such wording..."In regard to Attendance at Sunday Church Meetings, it is recognised by the Court that this forms part of "Lawful Daily Life."The Subject of these Conditions is therefore Permitted to Attend Sunday Church Meetings on the following basis:(1) That the Subject of these Conditions is not Permitted to be Alone with any Child or Children under the Age of 16 at any time, other than that which is very brief and either Unavoidable or Inadvertent. In order to practically assist with this, the Subject of these Conditions is to have an Appointed Chaperone whilst they are at Church.(2) That the Subject of these Conditions is Permitted to only have brief, casual Conversations with Children when other Adults are also Present, other than Inadvertent or Necessary brief social Conversation with any Child or Children that is not Reasonably Avoidable.(3) That there is Agreement with the Church's Safeguarding Officer, Probation Officer and Sex Offender Manager, that they are willing that the Subject of these Conditions can Attend Sunday Church Meetings on this basis."In regard to Attending Church Meetings Mid-Week in peoples' homes, it is further recognised by the Court that this forms part of "Lawful Daily Life."The Subject of these Conditions is therefore Permitted to Attend Mid-Week Church Meetings on the following basis:"In regard to Attendance at Sunday Church Meetings, it is recognised by the Court that this forms part of "Lawful Daily Life." The Subject of these Conditions is therefore Permitted to Attend Sunday Church Meetings on the following basis:(1) That the Subject of these Conditions is not Permitted to be Alone with any Child or Children under the Age of 16 at any time, other than that which is very brief and either Unavoidable or Inadvertent. In order to practically assist with this, the Subject of these Conditions is to have an Appointed Chaperone whilst they are at Mid-Week Church Meetings.(2) (a) That the Subject of these Conditions is Permitted to only have brief, casual Conversations with Children when other Adults are also Present, other than Inadvertent or Necessary brief social Conversation with any Child or Children that is not Reasonably Avoidable.(2) (b) That where the Subject of these Conditions is temporarily attending a home where a Child or Children may be sleeping upstairs, they are not Permitted to go upstairs for any reason, including using any upstairs bathroom or toilet, other than in an emergency or an otherwise Unavoidable circumstance.(3) That there is Agreement with the Church's Safeguarding Officer, Probation Officer and Sex Offender Manager, that they are willing that the Subject of these Conditions can Attend Mid-Week Church Meetings on this basis.”"In regard to Visit Church family homes, it is further recognised by the Court that this forms part of "Lawful Daily Life."The Subject of these Conditions is therefore Permitted to Visit Church family homes on the following basis:(1) That the Subject of these Conditions is not Permitted to be Alone with any Child or Children under the Age of 16 at any time, other than that which is very brief and either Unavoidable or Inadvertent. In order to practically assist with this, the Subject of these Conditions is to remain in or near the presence of at least one Parent or Guardian at all times, other than in an emergency or an otherwise Unavoidable circumstance.(2) (a) That the Subject of these Conditions is Permitted to only have brief, casual Conversations with Children when other Adults are also Present, other than Inadvertent or Necessary brief social Conversation with any Child or Children that is not Reasonably Avoidable.(2) (b) That where the Subject of these Conditions is temporarily Visiting a home where a Child or Children may be sleeping upstairs, they are not Permitted to go upstairs for any reason, including using any upstairs bathroom or toilet, other than in an emergency or an otherwise Unavoidable circumstance.(3) That there is Agreement with the Church's Safeguarding Officer, Probation Officer and Sex Offender Manager, that they are willing that the Subject of these Conditions can Visit Church family homes on this basis."
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Incidentally, I have researched Law and I am starting an Honours Degree in Law with the Open University at the end of January ]
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I've received an e-mail request for feedback, but like I said I have already rated you 5 Stars and was charged accordingly, Clare.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I am concerned that if I rate you twice, I will be charged twice and I don't have the money for that (I am on Disability Benefits.)
Expert:  Clare replied 13 days ago.

Again to be blunt - you cannot write your own conditions - it simply does not work like that.

You cannot add conditions or caveats as you appear to be trying to do.

It is however reasonable that these appear in any contract that the safeguarding officers of the Church ask you to sign and as such provides an excellent back up to your application

You are principally asking for the 10 years to be dropped to five

You will NOT be able to attend church meetings in peoples houses if children are present - that is simply not negotiable - and it is NOT a matter of human rights.

If you ask for that you will jeopardise the entire basis on which you are appealing AND will attract unpleasant attention to the Church form Social Services.

Put bluntly - you made a mistake and this is the price.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thanks for your further reply, Clare."You will NOT be able to attend church meetings in peoples houses if children are present - that is simply not negotiable - and it is NOT a matter of human rights."There is no necessary correlation between viewing pornography and abusing underage children. Furthermore, if other adults are always present, and there is always a chaperone, then there is no risk whatsoever of anything happening anyway.I do NOT accept that I cannot be in homes where children are present. It IS a Breach of my Human Rights.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Smith v Crown as a Precedent Case got the Restriction regarding Children totally removed, as they had not Abused or Groomed any underage person.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I am trying to please all parties with my compromises.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Also, there is a caveat in my Conditions that states I can have contact and be around Children, providing the Parents or Guardians know of my Conviction and Sentence and give their Permission for me to be around their Children.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
How should I attach the In-Church/In-House Agreement? Or should I use that in Court?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I think I only get one shot at getting my Conditions varied, so I really want to get everything I can out of it.
Expert:  Clare replied 12 days ago.

Your need to look at the article again

You need to appeal based on the grounds set out on there

So using Helmsley

• clear on their face

• free of the real risk of an unintentional breach

This isn't - the position on a Sunday Church Service is not clear

Using Buchanan

• No order should be drawn wider than is necessary to achieve its stated purpose

• In the absence of evidence or inference which can properly be drawn, normal activities should not be prohibited or restrained.

As above

using Smith

• There must be a real rather than remote risk of harm arising from the commission of further such offences.

• Consider whether prohibitions on contact with children are really necessary if the offence, for example, is one of viewing child pornography

In a Church stting there can be no risk

The three questions are

i.Is the making of an order necessary to protect from serious harm through the commission of scheduled offences? - arguable

ii.If some order is necessary, are the terms proposed nevertheless oppressive? - currently yes

iii.Overall are the terms proportionate? -probably not

So your appeal should target those issues and explain why they are wrong by illustrating each point.

Then redraft the order AS IT IS CURRENTLY SET OUT with your changes in general terms - not bits about acknowledging this or that.

The reference to the contract with the church and the Course you will attend should be made as part of showing that the current restrictions do not satisfy those three questions

The issue regarding the services at home is the one most likely to be the point that loses the whole thing - it will be seen as an odd request and could undermine the rest of your case.

Your choice though!

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thanks very much, again, Clare.The Church Meetings at people's home are a key part of our Daily Church Life. They are held locally every Week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Expert:  Clare replied 12 days ago.

I understand that but my position remains the same I am afraid

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Surely common-sense should come into play? If steps are taken by my Church to facilitate me Attending our Church meetings in peoples' homes, where is the problem?
Expert:  Clare replied 12 days ago.

Because in Social Work terms you are a significant risk - and if you go into the homes of these people at their invitation then they may find their children subject to Child Protection provisions

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
But all Members of my Church have been made aware of my Conviction, Sentence and Conditions and most, if not all of them, have given their Permission for me to be occasionally around their Children in a formal or social Church setting.
Expert:  Clare replied 12 days ago.

Which does not change the approach that Social Services will take if you are invited into their homes whilst the children are there

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Social Services are not allowed to make the leap from online pornography to the likelihood or significant risk of a contact offence involving a child or children. Precedent Law says this.
Expert:  Clare replied 12 days ago.

It will be seen as a safeguarding issue - and it is not you who will have to deal with them.

But no matter - you have the outline and need to get on with the drafting!

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
indeed. Thank you so much, Clare.
Expert:  Clare replied 12 days ago.

Good luck I hope all goes well

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
You were worth five times the money - I would've paid it if I had it!
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Can I still post my Draft Appeal for you to critique, Clare, or will I need to pay again?
Expert:  Clare replied 10 days ago.

Just post it here!

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I am really struggling to know how to set out my Appeal and what to say and what not to say. For this reason, I am struggling to even start it. I know you have said I can't really specifically suggest my own Clauses as such, but I believe you said a Church Agreement could be attached as Supporting Evidence. Could you please point me to some sort of template, which would give me a good idea of how to lay out my Appeal?
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Here's what I've written so far...GROUNDS OF APPEALThe Subject submits the following:(i) The Conditions surrounding contact and being around children are seemingly too strict;(ii) The Conditions surrounding contact and being around children are unrealistic and difficult to follow for the Subject;(iii) The Conditions are currently somewhat difficult to be implemented by the Safeguarding Officers of the churches they wish to attend on Sundays and other social days where the church meet together.(iv) The Conditions are currently extremely difficult to be implemented by the Safeguarding Officers when church meetings are held in peoples' homes (which is a very regular weekly occurrence.)(v) The Period of the SOPO (ten years) is excessive. A period of five years should be more than sufficient.(vi) The Conditions, at least in part, are contrary to Precedent Law, which state that Prevention Orders must be clear and unambiguous. There should be no room for the Subject in particular to be confused or be otherwise misled by them. The same clarity should also be true for Probation, the Police, Social Services and any appropriate Safeguarding Officers.
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I added Parents or Guardians to that last sentence.)
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
My proposition is to then list my specific objections to the current Conditions and Period of the Order.
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
My Objections as Summarised above, are therefore as follows:(i) The Conditions surrounding contact and being around children are seemingly too strict, to wit...a. To deny the Subject any Contact with Children, either Direct or Indirect, other than that which is Inadvertent or Unavoidable, is excessive and unnecessary.b. To apparently deny the Subject being around Children, even when Parents or Guardians are always present, is excessive and unnecessary.(ii) through (iii) The Conditions surrounding contact and being around children are unrealistic and difficult to follow, to wit...The Conditions are currently somewhat difficult to be implemented by the Safeguarding Officers of the churches they wish to attend on Sundays and other social days where the church meet together. Even where the church is full informed, i.e., both the church Elders and the Parents or Guardians (and, in some cases, all members of the churches in question,) Children will naturally greet and approach the Subject. Turning them away could potentially confuse and upset, yet explaining to them the details of the Order is unrealistic. There therefore needs to be provision for brief greeting and conversation. One could argue this would come under “Inadvertent” or “Unavoidable”, but not going to Sunday church meetings, where Children are always present at certain times, is not “Unavoidable” as such, but the Subject and his Lawyers during his case, maintain that attendance at church is necessarily part of “Lawful Daily Life.” Furthermore, the terms “Inadvertent” and “Unavoidable” are open to interpretation, particularly when a child or children are asking for assistance or asking questions that can quickly be answered by the Subject.(iv) The Conditions are currently extremely difficult to be implemented by the Safeguarding Officers when church meetings are held in peoples' homes (which is a very regular weekly occurrence.)On top of the aforementioned issues, being in people's homes further complicates such partially ambiguous and partially unclear Conditions, particularly when – even with Approval of both the relevant Safeguarding Officer and also the Parents or Guardians – the current Conditions also stipulate that Social Services must also Approve of any such attendance of church meetings in peoples' homes. The reality of Social Services Approving such attendance is unlikely, as Social Services nearly always err of the side of caution, even where the Subject is considered Low Risk to Children under the age of 16.It is therefore suggested that a potential solution to the complexities of being in homes where Children are present and/or sleeping upstairs, etc.. would be resolved by simply maintaining and enforcing the original Bail Condition that the Subject was given for a period of one year, to wit, “not being alone with a Child or Children under the age of 16.” This way there would be no opportunity for any potential Abuse or Grooming, which should therefore assure not only the relevant Safeguarding Officer and the Parents or Guardians, but also Social Services.(v) The Period of the SOPO (ten years) is excessive. It is suggested that a period of five years should be more than sufficient.a. Whilst the Prosecution have previously cited the Subject's Sexual Conviction from 1995 (a Contact Offence of Indecent Assault), this was now not only over 21 years ago, it also did not involve a Minor under either 16 or 18 years of age;b. Whilst the Prosecution have also previously cited the Subject's Conviction from 2001 (a non-threatening Harassment Offence), the Subject was not either Arrested, Charged or Convicted of any Offence against a Child or Children, but merely Convicted of unintentionally Harassing a church minister by over-assertive over-communication.(vi) As has previously been mentioned above, the current Conditions, at least in part, are contrary to Precedent Law, which state that Prevention Orders must be clear and unambiguous, to wit, that there should be no room for the Subject in particular to be confused or be otherwise misled by them and also that the same clarity should be true for Probation, the Police, Social Services, Parents or Guardians and any appropriate Safeguarding Officers.
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
added to (iv) above *"...On top of this, a Chaperone could be Appointed and/or Delegated by the relevant Safeguarding Officer for each such church meeting..."
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
My previous Lawyers, namely Arvind Sharma, Advocate/Counsel at Tuckers in Birmingham, have agreed with your interpretation regarding attendance at church meetings on Sunday and have agreed with myself that mid-week meetings are difficult under the current Conditions, which they also agree are largely ambiguous and unclear." *
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Should I cite the actual Precedent Law Cases in my Appeal papers, or should I reserve that for the actual Appeal Hearing?
Expert:  Clare replied 8 days ago.

Remind me of the exact terms of the Sopo

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Aside from internet history, it is as follows:Not to have contact with any child under 16, direct or indirect, unless it is
1. “inadvertent and not reasonably avoidable in the course of lawful daily life”; or
2. "with the consent of the child’s parent or guardian, who has knowledge of his convictions, and with written approval from Social Services."(This is my previous Lawyers summary - I will find the exact wording and post in below)Arvind Sharma, Counsel for Tuckers Solicitors in Birmingham gave the following understanding of my Conditions regarding Children:Counsel has now provided that opinion:-
Clause 6 prevents you from having any contact unless it is
1. “inadvertent and not reasonably avoidable in the course of lawful daily life”; or
2. with the consent of the child’s parent or guardian, who has knowledge of his convictions, AND written approval from Social Services.
Church meetings would appear to fall within the first category, which means that you can attend at such meetings, even if children are present, but that any contact, unless it is inadvertent and not reasonably avoidable, must be with the consent of the parties specified in 2 above. That means that you must take steps to avoid contact with children at church meetings, wherever they are held, and can only have contact if the conditions in 2 are satisfied.
If you wish to challenge this clause, then you can apply for a variation of it. Given his history as expressed by the prosecution at sentence, I do not expect that the Judge will vary the order to allow you contact with children at church meetings. You does not seem to be asking for that, and I agree with the court that the clause is clear. In my view, were you to attend at meetings knowing that children were to be present, and did not take reasonable steps to avoid contact, you would be in breach of the SOPO. If you attend, with the Church being aware of these restrictions, you should ask for their assistance to avoid contact with children, perhaps in the form of some sort of supervision of you whilst there. That way, any contact is likely to fall within 1 above, unless you take that contact further and engage in any way with the child. If they are unable to assist in this way, you may still feel able to attend but the onus is upon you to avoid contact whenever it is “reasonably avoidable”. I do not think that you would have a defence to a breach if you attended at a meeting where you knew that children were going to, or were likely to, be present and took no steps to avoid contact. In this context, I read “contact” to mean communication (or attempted communication) of any form, whether direct or indirect, or (of course) any deliberate physical touching. Simply being in the same place as children does not mean that you would be in breach, but any contact that occurs while you are there, and is reasonably avoidable, puts you in breach. What steps are taken by you are a matter for you but the first and most obvious step is to ask the Church for supervision. Clearly, engaging with any children (unless 2 applies) would be a breach, even if it is the child that initiates engagement. You will want to consider that attending at meetings where children are present could leave you open to complaints of contact, and so you would be sensible (by, for example asking for Church supervision) to avoid putting yourself in any situation where you are vulnerable to complaint.
We can’t go into every possible scenario – the above is general guidance as to how any breach could be avoided. You need to work with your offender manager (OM) in particular to establish what is considered to be appropriate."
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
The Police Force Lawyer provided a different and very legalistic interpretation of my Conditions, but I am still awaiting receipt of a copy of this (to date only my Police Supervisor has seen this, as it was e-mailed to them.) *
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
However, the Crown Court Judge, when I sought explanation and clarification of my Conditions, made no comment on them, but simply referred me back to my own Lawyers for their interpretation of the Conditions regarding Contact with Children. A Senior Crown Court Clerk added the comment "The Order is clearly worded." *
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
However, myself, my Probation Officer, the Police Supervisor and my Church's Safeguarding Officer have spent two months trying to work out exactly what these Conditions mean for me in reality."
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
The term "no contact, direct or indirect", is extreme and unacceptable and seems to be handed out like confetti in cases, almost regardless of whether any sexual abuse has taken place. I refuse to be told I cannot talk to children, nor give them even a brief hug (as younger kids tend to initiate.) I was found Guilty of looking at images on a computer. I didn't abuse or groom any child. To attempt to deny me any contact with children is surely Breaching my Human Rights?
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Sorry - I am digressing too much - as you can imagine, I am very distressed and depressed by all of this...
Expert:  Clare replied 7 days ago.

That is Clause 6 - ais that (and the time) the only one you are challenging?

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Clause 6, in its current wording, and also the 10 Year length of the SOPO.
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I can't live my life without church and family life. I've not done anything to deserve that. I'd rather be dead.
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Every member of the two churches I was attending already know about my Conviction and Sentence (and the most significant one is local and which I was a full member of.)
Expert:  Clare replied 7 days ago.

OK so you are challenging the inclusion of Clause 6 on the Basis of

1. Using the case of Smith

There is no "real" risk of harm - it is a remote one. You are a "voyeur" not an active participant

2. Using the Case of Helmsley

It is not clear on the face of it nor free of the real risk of an unintentional breach

a. “inadvertent and not reasonably avoidable in the course of lawful daily life”

Please do not talk about "breaching human rights" in your appeal

You attend Church and inevitably this brings you into the same room as children - it is not clear that the contract prepared by the Church elders (which you will attach) will be sufficient protection from breaching the clause

3. Using the case of Buchanan

"No order should be drawn wider than is necessary to achieve its stated purpose"

The requirement for the written agreement of Social services is more draconian than is required given that you will at all times be escorted and there is a Contract with the Church elders

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
are you saying keep my Appeal very simple and then point to the Church(es) agreeing a workable solution that protects, as much as possible, both Children and myself from potential issues?I believe that Smith v Crown also states that Orders should be without ambiguity or a lack of clarity, in order that there are clear to follow and one knows whether one is Breaching the Conditions or not by undertaking certain activity or conversation or other communication (this is, of course, also important for Church Safeguarding Officers and Parents or Guardians.)I do have a problem with being too verbose, especially when I am emotionally-involved and upset.
Expert:  Clare replied 7 days ago.

Yes keep it simple and concentrated on those points - NOT what you did or did not do!

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Okay. I will work on a much simpler Appeal, based upon the key points you have summarised.Thank you so much for your advice. It means a lot to me, as you can tell.
Expert:  Clare replied 7 days ago.

You are welcome

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
I have summarised your advice on the Appeal wording and added a few of my own sentences to it. I have shared this with my Church Elders and local Safeguarding Officer. I am meeting him later this week to discuss this and also my possible future attendance at local Church meetings.I wrote as follows:I am challenging the inclusion of Clause 6 on the Basis of1. Using the case of SmithThere is no "real" risk of harm - it is a remote one. You are a "voyeur" not an active participant. You have also conducted yourself well for over five years at your local Church, and elsewhere, without any Incident or Complaint regarding your contact or interactions with Children.2. Using the Case of HelmsleyThe Clause is not clear on the face of it, nor is it free of the real risk of an Unintentional Breach.
a. “inadvertent and not reasonably avoidable in the course of lawful daily life”You wish to resume attending Church and inevitably this will occasionally bring you into the same room as Children. It is recommended that a Contract be prepared by your Church elders and yourself (which you will agree together and attach to your Appeal.) This needs to provide as much Protection as possible from Breaching the Clause;I believe this Clause recognises that incidental conversation and brief interaction will occasionally take place between yourself and Children, especially when a Child or Children initiates conversation with yourself, or genuinely needs urgent assistance, but this should always be - wherever practicably possible - when you are Accompanied, ideally by an Appointed or Delegated Chaperone of the Church in question. If you ever find yourself incidentally alone with a Child, you should avoid any unnecessary interaction with them, and quickly step out of the situation whenever possible, or simply politely encourage them to return to other Adults.3. Using the case of Buchanan"No order should be drawn wider than is necessary to achieve its stated purpose"The requirement for the written agreement of Social services is somewhat Draconian and goes beyond what is required, given that you will at all times be Escorted and you will have a Contract with the Church Elders and their associated Church's Safeguarding Officer(s).
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
4. The Period of the OrderThe 10 Year Period of the Order is excessive and should more fairly be a Period of 5 Years.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
The more I look at it, the more the phrase "No contact, direct or indirect" is unacceptable. Can I ask for removal or rewording of this, in line with my comments about it above?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Oh silly me, I've already said that in my additional comments!)
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Apologies for so much text - here is my slightly amended Draft Appeal in the first person...GROUNDS OF APPEAL - SENTENCINGI am challenging the inclusion of Clause 6 of my Sentencing on the Basis of1. Using the case of SmithThere is no "real" risk of harm - it is a remote one. I was a "voyeur", not an active participant. I have also conducted myself well for over five years at your local Church and elsewhere, without any Incident or Complaint regarding either my contact or communications, nor any other direct or indirect interactions with Children.2. Using the Case of HelmsleyThe Clause is not clear on the face of it, nor is it free of the real risk of an Unintentional Breach.a. “inadvertent and not reasonably avoidable in the course of lawful daily life”I wish to resume attending Church and inevitably this will sometimes bring myself into the same rooms as Children.I have requested that a Contract be prepared by my Church elders, which I have agreed and hereby attach to my Appeal. I believe this will provide as much Protection as possible from Breaching this Clause.I believe this Clause needs to be either Clarified or Amended to recognise that incidental conversation and brief interaction will inevitably occasionally take place between myself and Children, especially when a Child or Children initiates conversation with myself, or genuinely needs my assistance, but this should always be - other than when it is inadvertent and not reasonably avoidable - that I am accompanied, ideally by an Appointed or Delegated Chaperone of the Church in question. I agree that if I find myself inadvertently or unavoidably alone with a Child, I will avoid any unnecessary interaction, and quickly step out of the situation whenever possible, or politely encourage them to return to other Adults.3. Using the case of Buchanan"No order should be drawn wider than is necessary to achieve its stated purpose"The requirement for the written agreement of Social services is somewhat Draconian, and goes beyond what is required, given that I will at all times be Escorted and also have a Contract with my Church Elders and their associated Church's Safeguarding Officer(s).4. The Period of the OrderThe 10 Year Period of the Order is excessive and should more fairly be a Period of 5 Years.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
The Prosecution are likely to bring up my Convictions from 1995 and 2001 - Should I address them in my Appeal, or wait until the Appeal Hearing?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
1995: [ Indecent Assault of a Female over 16 - she was 18 Years Old at the time ] Sentence: 4 1/2 Months Prison, due to Non-Cooperation of Probation Services2001: [ Harassment - Non-Threatening ] of a Church Minister by Over-Communication ] - Church Ban due to Over-Communication, but originally due to me writing a friendly, somewhat romantic letter to a 13 Year Old Baptised Member of a neighbouring Church. However, whilst I accepted it was inappropriate of me to have sent the letter, the letter itself was withdrawn from Evidence as it was not in itself inappropriate in content.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I would argue that both incidents were a considerable time ago and that both occurred when I was under no Medical, Psychiatric or Psychological treatment for my Bi-Polar Disorder.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
The Prosecution would probably then say I had Committed my Online Offences despite being under Medication and treatment. However, it can be significantly documented that I was under serious stress during the exact same period, due to someone Harassing and Defaming me, together with problems with my Church over my involvement in Politics.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I've just been told by my main Church Elders that they do not feel they can come to an arrangement in terms on a Contract or Operating Agreement regarding my Attendance at Church Meetings where Children present (which is pretty much all Meetings.) They claim it is all too complicated to enforce or supervise me under my Conditions and they are especially worried about Social Services interfering in their family lives in relation to Risk Assessments of each family in our Church.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Judges seem to hand out these standard Conditions like confetti and do not realise how unfair and devastating they can be to people's social, family and church lives...
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
regarding point 3., I suggest extending as follows... ]3. Using the case of Buchanan"No order should be drawn wider than is necessary to achieve its stated purpose""The requirement for the written agreement of Social Services is somewhat Draconian, and goes beyond what is required. It effectively gives Social Services the final say on any family who have granted me permission to be around their children when supervised. Given how they are known to err on the side of caution, it is unlikely that this Clause has any purpose whilst they can effectively Veto any such contact. I believe this Clause is only appropriate where clear Grooming or Sexual Abuse has previously occurred, which it has not."
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I guess that last sentence is too negative )
Expert:  Clare replied 6 days ago.

Ah

So there were previous convictions - this could make reducing from ten to five years difficult

with regard to the actual points you make

1. Take out what you have added. In that time period you committed these offences so this comment is not helpful.

2. Take out the paragraph starting "I believe" - you must NEVER "find yourself alone with a child" - nor respond to any contact they initiate

3. Tak eout everything after "what is required".

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
What is wrong with my additional comments in 3., please? Do they look dimly on any criticism of Social Services?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I did reference my previous Convictions quite a while earlier, but you've had a lot to read from me!)
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Isn't the word Draconian too negative? Or is that the word used in the relevant Precedent Case?
Expert:  Clare replied 6 days ago.

It is in fact Social services job to do exactly what you said - so lets not bring that to the Courts attention

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
But won't the Prosecution and/or Police object to any changes?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
If they do, can I reason with the Appeal Judge or Panel?
Expert:  Clare replied 6 days ago.

OF course they will object - that is when you argue your case

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Right. So I only plead my case beyond points of Law when it is needed to do so. I avoid any opinion in my Appeal itself.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Here is my suggested reason for my Late Appeal (as it is now over two months since my Sentencing)...GROUNDS OF LATE APPEALI have been forced to delay the Appeal of part of my Sentencing, due to a lack of clarity in the Conditions, which has caused myself, my Probation Officer, my Police Supervisor, the Police Force Lawyer and my own Lawyers, and other Lawyers, as well as various Church Elders, to attempt to work out what my Conditions actually mean in reality and if they are reasonable and workable or not. I even wrote to the Judge in my case via the Senior Court Clerk and I was simply referred back to my own Lawyers for their interpretation of my Conditions. The upshot is that I have now received conflicting interpretations, which is not helpful in terms of me adhering to my Conditions and not potentially Breaching them unintentionally. Almost everyone is also agreed that some of the Conditions are unclear and ambiguous, particularly in regard to how they would apply to visiting family homes and Church meetings at peoples' homes.For these reasons, as well as not agreeing that most of the Conditions and wording of Clause 6 are either appropriate or fair in my Case, I am hereby Appealing that part of my Sentence in relation to contact with, and being around, children under the age of 16 and, in particular, also to, in the process, seek official Clarification as to what the current standardised Conditions actually mean in reality. I note that such Conditions have been questioned and challenged before in various Cases and I am therefore hereby doing the same.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Regarding my previous Convictions - the main point is that none of them were Convictions regarding my interactions with Children ]
Expert:  Clare replied 6 days ago.

That is fine.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Thank you again for all of your patient help. I have a friend who would really like your advice, but he got Jo first, like me, and he really wants to speak with you. His SOPO finished years ago, but he's still being forced to not do things and keep to a set of Conditions he does not wish to...
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I have Facebooked him a link to get your Advice
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
I feel a bit bad that I've paid £40 for your help. I hope my referrals will make up the large amount of time you spent assisting me with my Appeal.
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
My Psych Report had significant errors in it an the Psychiatrist agreed to submit a correct Report for the Court
Expert:  Clare replied 5 days ago.

Do not worry

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
My friend's name is*****

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