There have been many changes to the law of rape. These are relevant to rape defence. The most recent amendment to the Crimes Act came in effect on 1 July 2015.
What is rape?
What is rape? In Victoria, a person commits rape if he or she intentionally sexually penetrates another person without that person’s consent, does not reasonably believe that the other person is consenting.
There may be evidence of penetration such as DNA evidence, or an admission in a record of interview, for example.
Before the latest amendment, the prosecution had to prove that the accused intentionally penetrated the complainant while being aware that the complainant was not or might not be consenting.
In 2008, the law was amended. Since then, it provides an alternative, namely, that the accused had given no thought to whether or not the complainant was not or might not be consenting. This test now applies to all offences of rape.
The amendment of 1 July 2015 now means that for all rape offences:
- Rape is the intentional sexual penetration of another person where there is no consent to the penetration and the accused person does not reasonably believe that the complainant consents to the penetration.
- It is thus necessary for the prosecution to prove the accused did not reasonably believe the complainant was consenting.
- The above demonstrates how important it is to seek early legal advice. What you say in a Record of Interview with police can be extremely important. Before deciding what to do you are wise to seek advice. The circumstances of each case may be different. They may raise different issues. What is a “reasonable belief”? This will be determined by an objective standard. It is not simply whether the accused person thinks his own belief is reasonable.
- Also important to establish is what law applies to historical allegations of sexual assault or rape.
- An allegation of rape is a serious matter. It should not be taken lightly. If you find yourself in the situation where someone is accusing you of rape, you must seek legal advice immediately.
- Slades and Parsons are experienced criminal defence lawyers. We have a team of highly qualified lawyers. Slades and Parsons specialise in all forms of criminal defence, including rape defence. We are available for both phone and face-to-face contact for urgent advice. A solicitor from Slades and Parsons will support you throughout the legal process and ensure that your rights are upheld.
- Slades and Parsons Criminal Defence Law Firm have been providing quality and specialist legal advice in Melbourne and Victoria for over 35 years. With this experience comes knowledge. You need to have rapport with your lawyer. You need to know that you can trust him or her to defend your rights and liberty with conviction and perseverance.
- If police are going to interviewed you or charged you with rape, then contact us at any time, 7 days a week, for advice about rape defence. We represent clients both in Melbourne and country Victoria, Magistrates, County and Supreme Court trials.