Mr Nigel Evans-a deputy speaker of the House of Commons, was arrested earlier this month, because of sexual assault allegations, which were denied by him. Evans will not resume his duties, until an official outcome. Ribble Valley was also questioned by the police, but he also classed the allegations as “completely false”.
After a warrant was approved by Preston Crown Court, an official search in the Commons office was conducted on Sunday. John Bercow (Commons speaker) said he considered the warrant and had taken legal advice before allowing the search.
The Lancashire Police said they had searched offices in London , adding that they had “gone through all the appropriate and necessary procedures before taking this step”.
In a statement at the start of parliamentary business, Mr Bercow said he had been advised “there were no lawful grounds on which it would be proper to refuse its execution”.
He told MPs that the “precincts of Parliament are not a haven from the law”. “The Serjeant at Arms and Speaker’s Counsel were present when the search was conducted,” he added. “Undertakings have been given by the police officers as to the handling of any parliamentary material until such time as any issue of privilege is resolved.”
Sentences for rape and different forms of sexual assault should be longer so that they correspond to some extent to the psychological impact on the victim.
Recently the Sentencing Council gave the suggestion that sexual offences should be treated focusing on the physical aspects of the assault and not on the lasting effects it may have over the victim.
The Sentencing Council’s consultation is set to run in 14 weeks and it suggests that there should be a greater focus on the modus operandi of the perpetrator and also on factors such as modern technology used to film the assault.
If proved that rapists have used alcohol or drugs for their victims, their sentence will be up to 19 years, which was until now the sentence for those who had committed multiple rapes.
Potential prison terms for sexual offences against children will also change depending on that whether a position of trust was abused.
If these changes take place they will have heavy impact on cases in which victims of sexual assaults were afraid to make any accusations for long time. These changes will affect sentences for 54 specific crimes connected to sexual offence.
The Sentencing Council’s Lord Justice Tracy said: “The perspective of victims is central to the council’s considerations,”We want to ensure sentences reflect everything the victim has been through and what the offender has done.”
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