The best defence to a child luring charge will depend heavily on the unique circumstances of the offence. In order to find out how you can most effectively defend yourself following this charge, contact one of our skilled and experienced criminal defence lawyers immediately.
One common defence to this charge is to argue that you did not know that the complainant was under the age of 16. Often young people will lie about their age online and it can be difficult to discern a person’s true age without face to face communication. So long as you took reasonable steps to ascertain the true age of the complainant, and so long as you subsequently honestly believed them to be of age to consent, you can effectively argue that you did not have the mental intent required for this offence. Because you need to have taken some legitimate steps to determine the true age of the complainant in order to use this defence, you will not be able to raise this argument if you were wilfully blind as to the age of the complainant. That is, if there was information or cues that suggested the individual was a minor, but you deliberately chose not to make further inquiries about their age, you could be deemed wilfully blind and be found guilty of this offence. This being said, in some circumstances taking reasonable steps to ascertain the complainant’s age requires something more than passive observation or passive reliance on cues like the complainant’s manner of speech, speed of typing, or the nature of the platform through which you were communicating.
If you were charged with luring a child through an operation with a police officer acting as a young person online, under specific circumstances you may be able to use the defence of entrapment. Entrapment is where the police essentially induce you or abet you to commit a crime that you were otherwise not involved with. To successfully raise the defence of entrapment, you will have to demonstrate that:
- The police did not have reasonable suspicion to believe that you were already engaged in the alleged offence, but they provided you with an opportunity to commit the offence anyway; or,
- The police had a reasonable suspicion that you were engaged in the alleged offence, however, they went beyond providing you with a mere opportunity to commit the offence. Rather, they did something to induce you to commit the offence.
While the defence of entrapment is incredibly difficult to raise, if you were able to successfully do so you would be granted a stay of proceedings.