Man sentenced for sexual assault in victim video evidence first for Surrey
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After a six day trial at Guildford Crown Court, Benjamin Nichols, 35 of Newdigate Road, Horsham, West Sussex, was yesterday (Monday, 25 May) found guilty of four counts of sexual assault of a child.
Nichols was sentenced to 12 months in prison for each count, which he will serve concurrently, and placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years. A sexual harm prevention order was also granted to monitor his digital technology use and restrict his access to children.
The incidents occurred between 2016 and 2017, with the last incident, which led to his arrest, occurring in February 2017.
This case was the first time a Surrey court had used section 28 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act, which allowed Nichols’ victims to be cross-examined in a pre-recorded video.
Detective Constable Steven Cassidy of Reigate’s CID team who was in charge of the investigation says: “This was a lengthy investigation so to get to this point and see a jury unanimously find Nichols guilty on four counts was a great result.
“The young victims were cross-examined beforehand and this was recorded and played out, so they didn’t have to relive their experiences in person before the courtroom. Giving evidence against someone who has assaulted you is a courageous thing to do however it is done, so I want to thank them for helping to bring Nichols to justice. I hope their brave actions and the fact that Nichols has been convicted and will suffer the consequences of his actions for some time to come, gives others who may have had experiences like this confidence to come to us for help.”