Defendants acquitted of Rape despite the offence being filmed.

After an 8 day trial at Basildon Crown, Jeremy Lynn gained a somewhat improbable acquittal for his client, one of two young men charged with raping a drunk 15 year old girl.

At the outset of the trial the auguries were not favourable: the co-defendant had filmed part of the sexual activity on his phone and the footage was played to the jury on multiple occasions throughout the case. At the outset of the trial one juror was excused after they had been warned that trying the case would require them to watch the graphic and disturbing footage.

The defendants both denied that intercourse had occurred – the co-defendant arguing that he had been unable to obtain an erection. The other acts were, they said, consensual, despite the video seeming to show otherwise.

In cross-examination Prosecution Counsel repeatedly demanded of the defendants whether the complainant looked like she was enjoying it. Plainly she did not, but as Jeremy pointed out in his closing speech “enjoyment” is not a required ingredient of consent, and who amongst us would ever dare to claim that our partners enjoyed every sexual encounter?

The case was also distinguished by an argument mounted by the co-defendant that the offence of taking indecent images of a child is not a strict liability offence. The Judge ruled that the Prosecution had to prove that the accused knew that the subject was under 18. This was something of a pyrrhic victory for the co-defendant as he was convicted of this offence; presumably the jury found that he knew full well that the girl was under age.
The case probably demonstrates that juries are not easily persuaded that a teenager who takes part in sex with an adult is absolved of all responsibility merely by virtue of her age and, as was the case here, if the drunkenness was voluntarily the jury will be loathe to find that consent was absent.

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