A key issue with sexual offence cases is consent – did the complainant (the ‘victim’, in jargon-free language!) consent to the act?
However, there are cases where even if it is accepted that the acts took place with consent present, you could still be guilty of sexual offences such as sexual assault or even rape.
One of these scenarios arises whereby the victim argues that they only gave consent because you led them to believe you were someone else, and they believed this impersonation.
There are crucial points to note in relation to this.
Firstly, the prosecution must prove that you deliberately impersonated the person with the aim of inducing the victim’s consent.
Secondly, the impersonation must be of someone known personally (but not necessarily sexually) to the victim. Impersonating a celebrity is not relevant to this issue.
Thirdly, the victim must have believed the impersonation. If they didn’t believe it, or didn’t care either way as to whether it was genuine, this cannot be said to be the reason for consent.
This issue is of particular importance currently, with considerable attention focused on the question of whether an online contact is someone known personally and, therefore, whether impersonation of an online contact of the victim to induce consent would cause you to be found guilty of a sexual offence.
This is a complex legal issue and if you feel it may be relevant to a sexual offence case you are facing, you will need specialist sexual offence solicitors on your side.
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Tags: consent, impersonation