I have never used a forum before so please forgive me if I get things wrong.
My Son was convicted and sentenced on Thursday for grooming and having sex with a minor, unfortunately he did not tell any of his family prior to the end of the trial and he swore his friends to secrecy, he was convinced that he would be vindicated at the trial. Unfortunately he was not and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
A brief outline of what was said in court is as follows
My son was arrested and accused of grooming and having full sex with a 15 year old girl, my son met the girl and her family at a mutual friends wedding, during the course of the evening he went to the toilet, on the way back downstairs he was kissed full on the lips by the girl, he laughed it off as he considered her to be drunk. A few weeks later he attended another wedding, he arranged to stay at his friends house for the night, he has known this married couple since college, after the wedding he went back to the house, in court the 15 year old girl alleged that she spent the night on the couch with my son kissing, her friend under oath denied this and said that she actually went upstairs to bed leaving my son and his friend watching tv and drinking. My Son is an avid football fan and he and his friends have season tickets, occasionally when somebody cannot attend a spare is available, on two occasions the 15 year old girl requested that she use the ticket, my Son drove himself, his friends and the girl to and from the match. It may seem odd that a group of older people tolerated a younger person in their group, but she was old beyond her years, regularly visiting pubs and clubs with her older sister and her friends. On no occasion did my son take her out. As is the norm nowadays this girl was included in the groups social media and lots of texts, messages etc were exchanged, to be honest my son is a text fiend he will text me umpteen times a day, especially when he is bored, the texts generally have little or no meaning and are usually banter. On the last day of the football season my son arranged a BBQ at his house, the plan was for a number of the group to watch the final games and enjoy food and drinks, the 15 year old turned up, his friends contacted him and said they were having a good time at the local pub and he should join them, naively as he was aware of the girls age and considered her to be just a friend he stayed at home. The girl alleged that she asked him to take her upstairs where they had intercourse, he strongly denies this. When the girl was asked to describe his bedroom she said it was simply furnished with a bed and a wardrobe, my sons room has a large sleigh bed, a full length wardroom, a 42'' Tv on the wall and a football team flag covering the whole of another wall, its quite an individual set up and not easily forgotten. At the end of the football match my Son drove the girl to the local train station, this has been verified using the tracker data from his vehicle, the girl said that he drove her to her home approximately 1 hour later than the data proved, this data was shown to the court. After a few days my Son confided in his friends and work colleagues that the banter between himself and the girl was worrying him and that she had started to worry him, his friends advised him to block her calls and also ignore her on social media which he did, a few days later the girls mother confronted my Son and asked him what had been going on as she had seen a text message from the girl to my son saying she loved him, he tried to explain the situation he had found himself in but the conversation became heated and they both hung up their phones. A few days later my Son was arrested and charged with grooming and sex with a minor, as he had never been in trouble with the police before he took the advise of the duty solicitor and gave the answer 'no comment' to all their questions, when the interview was played in court the Judge told the jury to disregard the no comment interview, the police officer in charge of the case turned her head to the Jury and raised her eyebrows. In court the contents of the texting, number of texts etc was discussed, the prosecution said that the girl had 2 phones which had been used, unfortunately one had been dropped down the toilet! and the other which her mother had seen the 'I love you' message on had been factory reset by the girls mother! surely these should have been removed as evidence by the police before they had their data wiped. My Sons phone had been seized by the police approximately 3 months after the initial interview, therefore he would have had sufficient time to destroy the phone if he wished, he willingly provided the password as he was aware that it would not have been difficult to retrieve data from the phone ( he works in IT) and he did not want to obstruct the police, in court the police admitted that they had lost the password and had destroyed data on his phone, at no time did they contact him to ask him the password, the officer in charge of the case said that one of her colleagues may have tried to access the phone.They did not follow the Acpo good practice guide for computer based electronic evidence, they did not follow protocol and they did not create an audit trail for the seized phone The only info provided by the police was as to the phone bills indicating the frequency of texts. During the judges sentencing he accused my son of deliberately withholding details and that in his opinion the texts had a sexual content The girls mother when acting as a witness was asked what she thought of my son, she said that he was a really nice person and was only unhappy about the 'I love you' message sent by her daughter.
The Judge was brutal in his summing up and he said my son had deliberately groomed a child ( he used the word child several times) with the intention of having sex, he sentenced him to 5 years on the charge of grooming and 5 years on the charge of sex with a minor to run concurrent.
We are all devastated by what has happened, his barrister was in tears in the private room we were taken to.
Can anybody give advice?