Simon Gurney secures acquittal for absent client who had written letter of confession

Simon’s client, SF, was accused of sexual abuse against his younger sister, when he was aged between 14 and 20 years old and she was aged between 4 and 10. SF denied the allegations but, whilst in prison for an unrelated matter, had written a letter to his sister in which he said “I am writing this letter to you just to say sorry for everything I’ve done. I don’t remember doing anything but I am probably choosing not to remember. I’m so sorry…”.

SF was interviewed and vehemently denied any wrongdoing, maintaining that the letter was written to make his sister feel better, even though he hadn’t done anything to her.

SF was duly charged and appeared before Liverpool Crown Court in April 2018 when he pleaded not guilty to 9 allegations of sexual offending, allegedly committed over a period of 6 years in the mid-2000’s.

Prior to his trial, SF stopped communicating with his Solicitors and stopped engaging with the Court proceedings. A warrant was issued for his arrest but was never executed.

He failed to attend Court for his trial in October 2018 and the Judge decided that it was appropriate to proceed in his absence, leaving the jury without the assistance of the Defendant’s evidence in response to the allegations.

Simon had the benefit of written instructions from SF, prepared prior to his disappearance, so was able to continue to represent him in the trial in his absence and to address the jury at the end of the evidence.

The trial lasted four days. It took the jury just 3 hours to return verdicts of not guilty on all counts. The Defendant remains unlawfully at large and will be sentenced for his failure to attend court when he is arrested.

Simon was instructed by Ellie Akhgar of One Legal.

This was the sixth successive acquittal secured by Simon in trials concerning alleged sexual abuse. If you’d like to enquire about instructing Simon in your case, please do not hesitate to contact David Wright, the Senior Clerk in Chambers on 0161 832 5701 or

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