Sentencing sex offences: lessons from Max Clifford

May 18, 2017

Sentencing sex offences: lessons from Max Clifford

Disgraced publicist Max Clifford has lost his appeal against sentence for historical sex offences – with salutary lessons for those whose conduct is unacceptable during and after a trial.  The criminal defence team at Qamar Solicitors is experienced in defending individuals charged with sex offences, whether involving alleged historical or recent sex offences.

Max Clifford – What was the issue?

Clifford was sentenced to eight years in prison following conviction for eight counts of indecent assault that took place between 1977 and 1984.  He appealed, arguing that the sentence was manifestly excessive on the basis that at the time the offences actually took place, the maximum sentence for them was two years (a term subsequently increased later on).  He also argued that two of the offences with which he was charged should not have been approached as rape as currently understood.

The appeal failed.  The Court of Appeal decided that the trial judge was entitled to pass sentence on the basis of imposing consecutive sentences, to reflect modern attitudes and sentencing guidelines to sex offences of this nature.

The court also found that the trial judge was entitled during sentencing to observe that some of the offending would now be charged as offences as serious as rape or assault by penetration.

Clifford’s conduct

During the trial, Clifford’s unacceptable conduct (which included “clowning” in front of the TV camera), was rightly judged to have been considered as withholding mitigation, not aggravation.  However, the judge said Clifford’s contemptuous attitude towards his victims caused additional element of trauma – and was something that he would take into account in passing sentence.

 How can we help you?

We regularly advise defendants facing charges for sexual offences.  If you are facing investigation for, or have been charges with sex offences contact the criminal defence lawyers at Qamar Solicitors immediately for urgent specialist legal advice.

1 R v Clifford [2014] EWCA Crim 2245


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