Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is an offence under Section 61 capital I of the crimes act New South Wales 1900. It is having sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person, knowing that the other person does not consent. It is what’s called a strictly indictable offence, which means it must be decided in a higher court, such as the district court. It cannot be decided in the local court. The maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment, and the offence also carries what’s called a standard non-parole period, and that’s seven years. That means that seven years is the reference point for the judge when the judge is deciding how long to give someone in prison. For you to be found guilty of sexual assault the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt, that one, you had sexual intercourse with another person. And sexual intercourse is defined in another video that we have. Two, that the other person did not consent. And three, that you knew the other person did not consent, or you’re reckless as to whether or not they consented, or that you had no reasonable grounds for believing that the other person consented. And again we have a video that defines consent. You are not guilty of sexual assault if there was no sexual intercourse, or there was consent, or you believe that consent was given, or if the act was done for a proper medical purpose. There are less common defences called self-defence, necessity, and duress. If you are guilty of sexual assault the sentencing statistics suggest that the most common penalty is full time imprisonment, followed by what’s called a suspended sentence, and that is a good behaviour bond, which if breached means that you are likely to be sent to prison. The average prison sentence imposed was four and a half years full term, with a two and a half year non-parole period. And the non-parole period is the time that you must spend in jail before you can apply to get out of jail. If you are pleading not guilty your lawyer should push for your charges to be withdrawn early. They may be able to do this by pointing out to the prosecution that they don’t have enough evidence against you, or that you have a valid legal defence. If your case goes to a jury trial they should of course fight hard to prove your innocence in court. If you wish to plead guilty your lawyer should guide you about what to do to put yourself in the best possible position at your sentencing hearing. They should prepare your sentencing hearing thoroughly, and present it persuasively in court to give you the highest chance of getting the most lenient penalty, such as some sort of a bond, e.g. a suspended sentence.

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