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Sexual Offences

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 updated the law, much of which dated back to 1956.

The main provisions of the Act include the following:

  • Rape is widened to include oral penetration
  • Significant changes to the issue of consent
  • Specific offences relating to children under 13, 16 and 18
  • Offences to protect vulnerable persons with a mental disorder
  • Other miscellaneous offences
  • Strengthening the notification requirements and providing new civil preventative orders

Find out more about how we prosecute sexual offences

Serial rapist Brian Witty is convicted of three further rapes between 1989 and 1998 and sentenced to life imprisonment


Witty was convicted today at Kingston Crown Court, a year after he was convicted at the same court for three other rapes and one sexual assault. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 12 years for each count.

Sally-Ann Russell, CPS London reviewing lawyer, said: "Witty's predatory behaviour towards his victims has proved him to be dangerous and prolific sexual offender.

"His conviction in 2012 for three rapes and one sexual assault clearly gave further victims the confidence to come forward.

"We supported them through the prosecution process by using a number of special measures including giving evidence behind a screen in court to save them from having to directly face Witty.

"Witty has consistently denied all the offences put before the court but for a second time the jury has seen through his lies and convicted him of his crimes.

"I would like to thank these three women for their courage in coming forward and supporting this prosecution. Their bravery has ensured that Witty is made to face the consequences of his actions and we hope that this conviction gives confidence to other victims to report their abusers and help us bring them to justice.

"CPS London is dedicated to prosecuting sexual offenders and supporting victims of sexual abuse."


Witty is currently serving an indeterminate sentence for public protection with a minimum of eight years before he is eligible for release. The sentences for this new case will run concurrently to his current sentence.


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Division, Special Crime and Counter Terrorism, and Organised Crime. In 2011-2012, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Department of Health (DoH) prosecution functions were transferred to the CPS. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  4. In 2010-2011 the CPS employed around 7,745 people and prosecuted 957,881 cases with 116,898 of these in the Crown Court, and the remaining 840,983 in the magistrates' courts. Of those we prosecuted, 93,106 defendants were convicted in the Crown Court and 727,491 in the magistrates' courts. In total 86% of cases prosecuted resulted in a conviction. Further information can be found on the CPS website.
  5. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.