According to trends recorded in criminal incidents for major offences in NSW, sexual assault has increased by 10% over the last year.
A sexual assault charge can have serious implications on your life. However, choosing the right criminal lawyer can safeguard your freedom and future. Sexual assault refers to unwanted or offensive sexual behaviour affecting another person without their consent.
A good lawyer will explore the best options for your defence and accomplish a positive outcome in your favour.
Sexual Assault in NSW
The Section: 61I of the Crimes Act 1900 stipulates that any person who has sexual intercourse with another person without consent and who does this knowingly is guilty of this offence. The section also has an aggravated clause that makes the crime even more serious under the below circumstances:
- Committing offence by more than one person (in company)
- The victim is less than 16 years of age
- Bodily harm caused to the victim with threatening
- The victim has a serious physical disability
- Break and enter
- The victim is deprived of his/her liberty
The maximum penalty is up to 14 years of imprisonment with applicable fines, and if the offence counts under the aggravated section, it can carry imprisonment of up to 20 years.
Common Defenses for Sexual Assault Charge
If you are convicted for sexual assault in NSW, a criminal lawyer can help to evaluate and come up with the best defence for your case that includes:
The prosecution must prove that the victim did not consent to the alleged actions to verify your charges. Therefore, your defence lawyer can try to cast further doubt that the alleged act does not violate the victim’s consent.
A criminal lawyer representing on your behalf can also try to discredit the victim. The victim may be coerced or influenced by a third party to make accusations against you and can be lying. Due to prior motivation or publicity, the victim may be seeking revenge and falsely accusing you. Perhaps this is not the first time the victim has made similar claims.
In this type of defence, the lawyer will show that the offender was temporarily or permanently insane. To prove insanity, the lawyer will seek mental evaluation by specialists and call them during your defence in court to prove your case.
Onus of Proof
Another key angle, a criminal lawyer can take is to uphold doubt on the prosecution’s proof. When the prosecution tries to prove particular parts of the case, your defence lawyer can question and raise doubts in the evidence submitted.
Admitting your crime is the last recourse. Depending on the extenuating circumstances, the lawyer may suggest this action and try to minimise your penalties. The lawyer can try to apply for Section 10 Dismissal for a conditional release without a conviction.
Dealing with a sexual assault charge can be embarrassing and challenging. If you have decided to go to court, ensure to consult a criminal lawyer to know your options and the best defence that can be applied for the right way forward. It’s essential to find a suitable lawyer for your case and share your details honestly and candidly. Only then, with thorough knowledge of your case, your lawyer can act on your behalf for the best outcome.
Interesting related article: “What is a Lawsuit?“