Adam Johnson: Footballer pleads guilty to child sexual offences

Adam Johnson: Footballer pleads guilty to child sexual offences

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Image from www.aitonline.tv

On 10 February 2016, professional footballer Adam Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a child and one count of grooming. He entered not guilty pleas in respect of two further counts of sexual activity with a child and his trial began today, 12 February 2016.

The offences

Sexual activity with a child: s.9 SOA 2003

(1) A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally touches another person (B),

(b) the touching is sexual, and

(c) either—

(i) B is under 16 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over, or

(ii) B is under 13.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section, if the touching involved—

(a) penetration of B’s anus or vagina with a part of A’s body or anything else,

(b) penetration of B’s mouth with A’s penis,

(c) penetration of A’s anus or vagina with a part of B’s body, or

(d) penetration of A’s mouth with B’s penis,

is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.

Grooming: s.15 SOA 2003:

(1) A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—

(a) A has met or communicated with another person (B) on at least two occasions and subsequently—

(i) A intentionally meets B,

(ii) A travels with the intention of meeting B in any part of the world or arranges to meet B in any part of the world, or

(iii) B travels with the intention of meeting A in any part of the world,

(b) A intends to do anything to or in respect of B, during or after the meeting mentioned in paragraph (a)(i) to (iii) and in any part of the world, which if done will involve the commission by A of a relevant offence,

(c) B is under 16, and

(d) A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over.

[…]

(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.

It is important to note that the offence of grooming is not merely the act of communicating with a child for sexual gratification/the subject of which is sexual. The offence is actually entitled “meeting a child following sexual grooming” and therefore is actually concerned with the act of meeting (or travelling to meet) a child following communication for the purposes of committing a sexual offence.

There is a new offence of “sexual communication with a child”, however that is not yet in force. That offence when enacted will criminalise sexual conversations and will not rely on an intention to meet, or an actual meeting.

The trial

Johnson’s trial began on 12 Feb. We will monitor it and post when there is something that we are able to report. Like anyone else, he is entitled to a fair trial and the media should be very careful about what is published during the trial. As such, we will say no more at this stage.

It has been reported that Johnson has been ‘sacked’ by his employer, Sunderland AFC. At the moment, that would seem to be the least of his worries.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Indeed, but it’s just too bad.

    A few years ago there was a rape case – which I will not identify further – in which the victim was a member of a family prominent in the politics of a certain town in Ireland which I will also not identify here; and the local paper named her in its full and salacious report of the trial.

    Now: if you know where to look in London and other cities with a big Irish population there are newsagents who sell a huge range of Irish papers; and yes, that included the “Blanktown Gazette”, name and all. There is nobody whose job it is to riffle through the pages of foreign newspapers just in case they include something of the sort – and nor should there be.

    And then of course there are online editions!

    • And then of course there are cases like Mark Perason’s, dragged through the court system for a sexual assault that never happened, and his fantasist “victim” receives lifetime anonymity…

      • And then of course the woman who alleged Alexander Pacteau raped her and watched him walk free from court to subsequently murder Karen Buckley.

        • Good example.

          Maybe both cases are an indication that the CPS (or COPFS in Scotland) aren’t doing a great job overall in putting together and presenting cases. Despite Alison Saunders ‘ all out war on sex offenders. (With the exception of former House of Lords members of course).

          The director of any other organisation that fails so systematically would have been long gone!

        • A jury acquitted him. He had to be released. That’s trial by jury. Even if we abolished juries and had trial by judge alone there would be similar cases. It happens.

  2. I’ve been following this case in the press this week. He’s already pleaded guilty to 2 charges. There appear to be other 2 charges but from what I’ve read no evidence to support those has been presented. They seem to go on about his arrogance and the evil of a footballer lifestyle.
    Maybe it’s the court reporters that aren’t explaining it very well. But it’s hard to understand what he’s accused of, outside of what he’s already pleaded guilty to.
    Aren’t prosecutors required to present evidence anymore?

  3. Anyone understand how the jury could find him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of one charge and innocent of the other when all there is he said/she said evidence for both charges?

  4. It probably helps to have heard all the evidence.

    I would not have bailed him. There must be some fear that he will find another way out, and I don’t mean by fleeing the country.

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