Grooming is defined as engaging in any conduct in relation to a person under 16 years of age with intent to have the person participate in a sexual act or expose the person to indecent matter.
The maximum penalty is 10 years of imprisonment if the complainant is under 12 years old. Otherwise, the maximum penalty is 5 years of imprisonment.
Police often charge persons with this offence when they’ve had online contact with the complainant. It is not uncommon for grooming charges to involve undercover or covert police officers impersonating an underage person. Many cases rely on technological evidence such as messages between the two parties to prove a charge of grooming.
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