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Rape

 

Forrest Williams are specialist rape defence solicitors.  We are a Legal 500 ranked law firm offering privately-funded assistance throughout England and Wales.

 

Rape is an offence under section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and is indictable only, meaning rape cases must be heard in the Crown Court.

 

For a person to be convicted of rape, the prosecution must prove the following:

 

  • intentional penetration;
  • of the vagina, anus or mouth, of a male or a female;
  • by the penis of the defendant;
  • the complainant did not consent to the penetration;
  • the defendant did not reasonably believe that the complainant was consenting

 

If any of these elements are not present in the alleged incident, then you should plead not guilty.

 

For example, if penetration is accidental, rape has not been committed.

 

Most rape cases focus on the issue of consent, and this will need to be considered in some detail before you are advised as to how you should plead to this charge.  The steps you had taken to determine whether the complainant was consenting will be considered in relation to how reasonable your belief of consent was.

 

Rape victims can be male or female, but only males can be charged with rape.  Females can be charged as secondary parties.

 

Alternative charges include attempted rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault or causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent.

 

Maximum sentence: life imprisonment
Offence range: four to 19 years (offences can be of such severity that sentences of 20 years or more may be appropriate)

 

The Sentencing Council provides guidelines for sentencing and breaks the offence into three categories, with Category 1 being the most serious.

 

If you are being investigated for, or charged with, rape, it is vital that you seek specialist legal help immediately.

 

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