No Further Action Achieved in Abuse of Trust Case

2nd April 2024 | Sex Offences News & Stories|
Dawn McKnight headshot

Dawn McKnight


Dawn McKnight, Partner in our Private team, successfully secures no further action for a client accused of sexual activity in abuse of trust.

Thames Valley Police arrested the headteacher at a school and escorted him out of the building in full view of his colleagues and pupils. Having never had any prior involvement with the police, the client was very traumatised, and, on arrival at the station, requested the Duty Solicitor for representation.

It was alleged that the client had engaged in an intimate relationship with an ex-pupil.

Despite the client’s clear denial of the allegation, he was advised by the Duty Solicitor to conduct a ‘no comment’ interview’. He followed this advice but was very uncomfortable and felt as if he was not defending himself.

Having conducted his research into specialist sexual offence criminal firms, the client contacted Lawtons for advice. Dawn saw the client for an initial consultation on a private paying basis. Having discussed matters in full, the client felt reassured that Lawtons would be the firm he wished to instruct and formally instructed Dawn on a private paying basis to defend him whilst he was subject to the police investigation. 

Dawn made initial contact with the officer in the case and sought information as to what evidence they had and what further steps were to be taken. During the course of the investigation, Dawn regularly contacted the police for updates to ensure that they were acting as expeditiously as possible as her client was suspended from his duties and had very onerous bail conditions to adhere to and were having a detrimental impact on him mentally.

By agreement, the client attended Milton Keynes Police Station for a voluntary interview whilst subject to bail. Having received the disclosure, the case against her client seemed particularly weak. Dawn advised the client to give a full account in the interview. This tactic could have been risky, but Dawn was confident having met with her client several times and considering his instructions that the police had very little evidence against him.

Following a lengthy interview where the client gave an account denying the allegations, Dawn was able to assert on the recording that they had no real evidence against her client. Although they believed there was ‘no smoke without fire’, Dawn managed to secure no further action for her client.

Clients trustpilot review –

“I will never have enough thanks to offer Dawn McKnight for the absolute professionalism, expertise, empathy and care she has shown whilst working with me.

Out of the blue, a serious allegation against me turned my world upside down and I was thrust into the confusing and scary world of criminal law that I had no knowledge or experience of. I had no idea whatsoever of how to deal with the unfolding nightmare in front of me. I felt like I was a dead man walking until I met Dawn. She saved me! She listened, she guided me, she advised me and when I had to face the police, her reassuring presence was invaluable. In the short time that I spent with Dawn, I knew that she would be by my side and have my back whenever I needed her.

Without a doubt, I know for sure that she will always remain one of the most important people in my life and that of my family for the way that she saved us in our deepest darkest hour. She really is a guardian angel and I cannot recommend her highly enough”

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