Inevitably some of those books have attempted an academic analysis of the new offences and the new statute. In their “Sexual Offences Handbook” Felicity Gerry and Catarina Sjölin have tried something just as important, arguably more complex, and certainly more valuable for the criminal practitioners. Both authors have extensive experience prosecuting and defending in sex crime trials. They admit that they were encouraged to develop their book as a result of their frustration “with the increasing complexity in sex crime law and the lack of definitive books dealing with the many and varied issues that arise in cases of this type”.

In their 630 pages Gerry and Sjölin range widely from “abuse of process” and “nolle prosequi” to referrals to the Criminal Cases Review Commission to appeals to the Supreme Court. They deal with the law as “historic”, “updated and spanning” and “recent”. For each offence they state the law, provide a draft indictment, set out the elements of the offence, suggest alternative offences, and analyse the possible and probable sentences including both aggravating and mitigating features. Their sentencing section alone covers over 100 pages!

In his Foreword to the book Judge Nicholas Browne QC describes this “very complete handbook” as “considering carefully” all aspects of the trial process, and setting out the many and complex new issues “clearly and methodically”. He roundly congratulates the authors “for writing such a detailed and helpful guide which every practitioner in this field of work will find invaluable”. I concur, and have nothing to add (as the Court of Appeal wingman would probably say!).

Martin Bowley QC