What is Sexual Assault?
The offence of Sexual Assault is contained in section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900 which states:
Any person who has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person and who knows that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.
What is an Aggravated Sexual Assault?
The Crimes Act 1900 further defines aggravated sexual assault as occurring when:
Any person has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person and in circumstances of aggravation and who knows that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse.
There are a number of circumstances that “aggravate” a charge of sexual assault, including:
The alleged offender:
- Inflicts actual bodily harm on the alleged victim
- Threatens to inflict actual bodily harm on the alleged victim with a weapon
- Breaks into a premises with the intention of committing the offence
- Deprives the alleged victim of their liberty for a period before or after the offence
The alleged victim:
- Is under 16 years of age
- Is under the authority of the alleged offender
- Has a serious physical disability
- Has a cognitive impairment
What are the penalties for Aggravated Sexual Assault?
The maximum penalty for the offence of aggravated sexual assault is 20 years imprisonment.
The maximum penalty for the offence of aggravated sexual assault in company is life imprisonment.
What is Aggravated Sexual Assault in Company?
This occurs when the accused commits the offence of aggravated sexual assault in the company of another person, and further, where one of the following elements is present:
- Infliction of an injury on the alleged victim
- A threat to inflict an injury on the alleged victim
- The alleged victim being denied their liberty before or after the offence
What must be proved to find the accused guilty?
In order to find the accused guilty of aggravated sexual assault, the following must be proved:
- Sexual intercourse occurred
- There was no consent to the sexual intercourse
- The accused knew that the other person did not consent to the sexual intercourse; or was reckless as to consent
What are the potential defences?
Potential defences to a charge of aggravated sexual assault include:
- Denying that sexual intercourse occurred
- Raising a doubt that there was no consent from the alleged victim
- Raising a doubt that there was no reasonable belief that the alleged victim consented
Aggravated sexual assault is a very serious charge that carries severe punishments. It is imperative that the accused consults an experienced criminal defence lawyer.