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Accusations of rape and date rape: establishing a defence

17 March 2021

sexual-offence-solicitor

On the UK statute books, rape is considered the most serious sexual offence. Its current definition is in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, but any allegations of rape that are pre-dating 2003 are considered historic and are dealt with by old law, the laws that were in places at the time of the alleged offence. Our sexual offence solicitor can help you navigate this legal complexity.

Date rape was legally defined in 2003, this is an added nuance to the definition of rape in that it has to occur between two or more people who are romantically involved and may already be in a sexually active relationship. There may be the prospect of implied consent which has then been withdrawn resulting in rape being committed.

There are no legal differences between rape and date rape, with them both being seen as equally serious offences with the same maximum penalties.

The heart of the matter is consent and penetration. If penetration has occurred without consent, then the sexual act is considered rape. As the definition stands, women are incapable of committing rape regardless of the gender of the alleged victim and would instead be charged with a lesser sexual offence.

The defence

In all cases heard in court, the guilt of the accused must be found to within reasonable doubt. In a rape case, the consent must be given to within reasonable belief e.g. was it reasonable, given the situation and the individuals involved that consent had been given and then that it had been withdrawn? If not the latter, then regardless of how the alleged victim may feel, rape did not occur. This can get very complex and could involve delving into the personal lives of everyone involved. What level of intimacy had already been achieved in the relationship and what was the nature of the relationship?

Given the severe penalties of life imprisonment for rape and the devastation of being raped, the cases are often very hard-fought by our sexual offence solicitor.

If you have been contacted by the police to attend a voluntary interview whether under caution or not, now is the time to seek legal representation.

Given the consequences of any future trial, it is wise to be guarded when you attend your voluntary interview while being well prepared and in the presence of legal counsel. Any attempt to avoid the police or sudden travel will be seen as grounds for arrest and formal questioning.

Solicitors for sexual offence

A sexual offence solicitor is your best option for the situation to end favourably. We understand that the process of being arrested and charged for a sexual offence is frightening, and you may panic. But the majority of date rape accusations never go on to prosecution and even less end in conviction and the chance of a successful appeal is good.

If you find yourself at any stage of this unfortunate process, please feel free to get in contact with us at the office, for further advice and information about getting representation.

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