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Sexual Assault

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Best Sexual Assault Lawyers for Sexual Assault Charges

In the sphere of criminal offences, sexual assault charges are one of the most daunting. It is not unusual for your life to be upended by allegations of this nature. Our team of sexual assault lawyers have an exceptional record in obtaining ‘not guilty’ verdicts. We have over ten years of experience in negotiating to have charges dropped or downgraded.

Over this time, we have developed strong relationships with some of Australia’s leading medical, DNA, fingerprint and intoxication experts who we use to tear apart prosecution cases. We have also had numerous cases withdrawn before they even get to trial.

Contact us now to speak to our Law Society accredited specialist criminal lawyer. You can also see our recent results for sexual assault charges.

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

  • PLEADING NOT GUILTY

    What is Sexual Assault?

    Section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) sets out the definition of sexual assault as engaging in sexual intercourse with another person without their consent.

    This is a strictly indictable offence and must be finalised in the District Court.

     

    How Do You Beat a Sexual Assault Charge?

    You can fight a sexual assault charge in two ways. Firstly, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt:

    1. You engaged in sexual intercourse with the complainant, and
    2. The complainant did not consent to the sexual intercourse, and
    3. You were aware (or should have been aware) that the complainant was not consenting.

     

    Sexual assault allegations are extremely commonplace today. Community attitudes have changed significantly since the #metoo movement which has made fighting such allegations more difficult than ever before.

    That is why you need to obtain advice from a specialist sexual assault lawyer as soon as possible to begin preparing your defence.

    Contact us today to speak to our friendly team.

     

    What is Sexual Intercourse? 

    Sexual intercourse is defined in Section 61HA of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) as:

    1. penetration of the genitals of a female by the body of another person or an object manipulated by another person; or
    2. Penetration of the anus or mouth of any person by the body of another person or an object manipulated by another person; or
    3. Cunnilingus (oral sex).

    What is Consent?

    Section 61HE of the Crimes Act 1900 sets out the definition of consent for sexual offences:

    “A person consents to sexual activity if they freely and voluntarily agree to the sexual activity.”

    Other than proving simply that a person did not agree, some other grounds on which it can be established that a person does not consent to sexual contact include:

    1. The alleged victim was substantially intoxicated by drugs or alcohol; or,
    2. The consent was elicited through intimidation, coercion, or threats of force; or,
    3. The consent was elicited through abuse of a position of authority or trust.

     

    A person cannot consent to sexual contact if:

    1. They do not have capacity to consent because of their age (ie. Under 16 years of age or under 18 years of age if a ‘special care relationship’) or cognitive incapacity;
    2. They are asleep or unconscious;
    3. They have consented because of threats or they are unlawfully detained.

     

    A person has “knowledge” about lack of consent to the sexual contact if:

    1. The person knows the alleged victim does not consent; or,
    2. The person is reckless as to whether the alleged victim consents; or,
    3. the person has no reasonable grounds for believing the alleged victim consents.

     

    Importantly, a court will take into account all of the circumstances, including any steps you took to determine whether the alleged victim consented.

    Consent is a very complex area of law. The stakes for sexual offences are extremely high – if you are found guilty there is a strong chance you will receive a jail sentence.

    That is why it is important that you have Australia’s best criminal lawyers by your side. Our specialist sexual assault lawyers understand the stigma that comes with such allegations and the impact it can have on your employment and family life.

    It is crucial to speak to an accredited specialist in criminal law early so that we can begin working on your case. We are regularly able to negotiate with Police and the DPP to have the charges withdrawn.

    Contact us now and speak to our friendly team today.

     

    What are the Defences to Sexual Assault?

    You may be found ‘not guilty’ to this offence under the following circumstances:

    1. Intercourse cannot be proved. We often use our medical and DNA experts to cast doubt on whether sexual intercourse occurred;
    2. Consent: We can argue that the alleged victim consented to the sexual intercourse. There are however some situations where this cannot be used as a defence (most commonly where the alleged victim was too intoxicated to consent).
    3. Honest and reasonable mistake: You held an honest and reasonable belief that the alleged victim was consenting.
    4. Identification: The Crown cannot establish that you were the perpetrator. We have a number of experts (such as DNA, fingerprint, CCTV and intoxication experts) who are able to cast doubt on identification in certain situations;
    5. Automatism: This is where the offending was involuntary. This can sometimes involve sleep disorders.
    6. Duress: You were forced to commit the offence
    7. Necessity: the commission of the offence was necessary in the circumstances;
    8. There was a proper medical purpose for the sexual intercourse.
  • PLEADING GUILTY

    If after receiving detailed advice from an accredited specialist in criminal law, you decide that the best course if for you to plead guilty, we will need to begin preparing for sentencing. Our guide will be of some general assistance, but you will need to consult a specialist sexual assault lawyer for representation in Court and advice specific to your case.

    Contact us now to speak to our friendly team.

     

    What Are the Penalties for Sexual Assault?

    The maximum penalty for Sexual intercourse without consent is 14 years Imprisonment.

    There is also a Standard Non-Parole Period (SNPP) which is 7 years imprisonment.

    The SNPP is the starting point for the period of time you must spend in jail. This is not mandatory but more of a guide.

    Contact us now to discuss your case with an experienced sexual assault solicitor.

     

    What are the Possible Sentences to Sexual Assault?

    Below is a list of sentencing options for Sexual Assault charges:

    1. Section 10 dismissal
    2. Conditional release order without conviction (previously known as Section 10 good behaviour bond)
    3. Fine
    4. Conditional release order with conviction (previously known as Section 9 good behaviour bond)
    5. Community Corrections Order (previously known as Community Service Order)
    6. Intensive Corrections Order
    7. Full Time Imprisonment

     

    Offences of this nature almost exclusively result in a term of imprisonment. This is borne out in the sentencing statistics set out below.

     

    Will You Go to Jail for Sexual Assault?

    When analysing statistics since 2018, it is unsurprising to see that 96% of persons found guilty of this offence were sentenced to full-time imprisonment. The length of imprisonment ranges from 2 years to 14 years.

    Plainly, there is a lot at stake when charged with an offence as serious as this. As such, you should speak to Australia’s best sexual assault lawyers who can provide you with the best defence.

FAQ

Can You Withdraw Consent?

Yes. A person may consent at the start of a sexual encounter and then withdraw consent at some point during the encounter. Once consent is withdrawn, any further sexual intercourse would be an offence.

 

Can I Be Found Guilty Even if the Victim Consents?

In some cases, yes. If the alleged victim consents to sexual intercourse with you, but one of the below factors applies, then the Court will determine that the consent was not legitimate:

 

  1. The alleged victim was under 16 years old;
  2. The alleged victim was unconscious or asleep;
  3. The alleged victim was substantially intoxicated;
  4. The alleged victim was threatened or forced
  5. The alleged victim was subject to intimidatory or coercive conduct (not a threat of force)
  6. You abused a position of authority or trust

 

Section 61HE of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) sets these factors out in detail.

 

What is the Legal Age of Consent in NSW?

The age of consent in NSW is 16 years old.

 

What if the Victim Does Not Resist Sexual Intercourse?

The Court cannot find that the alleged victim consented to sexual intercourse only because they did not physically resist. This was confirmed in R v Lazarus [2017] NSWCCA 279.

 

Does Delay in the Alleged Victim’s Complaint to Police Make Them Less Credible?

Section 294 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) sets out that if there is a delay in the alleged victim making a complaint about the sexual assault, a judge is required to warn the jury that:

(a) a lack of complaint or delay in complaint doesn’t necessarily mean the allegation is false; and

(b) there may be good reasons why an alleged victim of sexual assault may hesitate in making, or refrain from making, a complaint; and

(c) delay in complaining is not relevant to the victim’s credibility unless there is sufficient evidence to justify such a warning.

 

If you have been charged with a sexual offence and there is a delay in complaint, you should contact us to speak to one of our experienced sexual assault lawyers. They can provide advice on how whether the delay can be used to assist your case.

 

Can the Alleged Victim’s Sexual History Be Used?

Under Section 293 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, there is a general rule that evidence of an alleged victim’s sexual reputation and experience is not allowed to be used unless it falls into one of the following exceptions:

 

  1. The alleged victim’s sexual activity or experience occurred at or about the time of the alleged offence, and, it forms part of a connected set of circumstances of the alleged sexual assault; or
  2. If you were in a relationship with the alleged victim at or about the time of the alleged sexual offence;
  3. If you do not agree that sexual intercourse took place with the alleged victim and the evidence is relevant to whether there was semen, pregnancy, disease or injury;
  4. It has been disclosed or implied in the prosecution case and the probative value of the evidence outweighs any distress, humiliation or embarrassment to the alleged victim.

 

This is a very complex area of the law. It is crucial that you contact our criminal lawyers for sexual assault charges as evidence of an alleged victim’s sexual experience and/or history can often be the difference between a ‘guilty’ and ‘not guilty’ verdict.