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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

The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Man sentenced to 13 years imprisonment for 1994 rape and attempted rape


Russell Chandler, 41, was sentenced today at Harrow Crown Court to a total of 13 years imprisonment for the rape of one woman and the attempted rape of another woman in the Mill Hill area of north west London between 9th and 11th May 1994. He was sentenced to 13 years for the rape and nine-and-a-half years for the attempted rape, to run concurrently. Chandler was identified as a suspect through DNA evidence following his recent arrest for unrelated offences.

Both victims were attacked in the evening when they were walking home alone, one from Mill Hill Station and the other from Copthall Leisure Centre.  At the time of the attacks DNA was taken from the crime scenes. This was added to a national database following the creation of the Metropolitan Police's Sapphire Cold Case Team in 2002 and provided a match when Chandler was arrested in June 2015. The police then reopened the 1994 case.

Kay Scudder, CPS London reviewing lawyer, said: "Russell Chandler may have thought he had got away with these terrible crimes but he has now been convicted.

"He pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting the two women but was not prepared to admit that he had raped one of them and attempted to rape the other. We were determined that he would be held responsible for the full extent of his crimes and proceeded with the case to trial.

"More than 20 years after their terrifying ordeals the victims showed great bravery in giving evidence against their attacker in court. I would like to thank them for their support of the prosecution and I hope that they finally feel that they have some sense of justice."


Notes to Editors

  1. Background: The two counts of indecent assault were left to lie on file as these were alternatives to the rape and attempted rape.
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