Indecent assault lawyers - sex offence - rape offence

by Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers

Introduction

If you have been charged with a sex offence, you will need to talk to an indecent assault lawyer immediately. Indecent assault (or sexual assault), sexual abuse, indecent assault against children and rape are all very serious crimes, which are punished severely by the courts. Depending on the nature of your indecent assault charge or rape charge, you could be prosecuted and sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison.

Indeed, sexual offences carry some of the strictest penalties in Australia. The New South Wales Parliament is currently considering whether to raise the maximum sentence for sexual offences against children to life imprisonment.

Statistics gathered by Victoria Police show an increase in rape offences in Victoria over the last year. There were 2,144 rape offences reported in 2014, up 3.7% from the previous year. The Crime Statistics Agency of Victoria has also revealed that sexual offences in general increased by 9.5% in 2014. There were over 10,000 reported instances of sexual assault in Victoria in 2014. Statistics also show there were over 2,000 sex offences in the eastern suburbs alone: nearly 700 of these were rape in Melbourne’s east.

If you have been charged with a sexual offence, you should contact one of our specialist sex offence lawyers immediately. Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers have offices in Dandenong, Frankston, Moorabbin, Ringwood and the CBD. Sex offence lawyers are available at all of our office locations.

These experts in criminal law will be able to assist you with understanding your charges, offer you advice, and represent you at court. If you have been charged with indecent assault, rape or any other sexual offence, you should contact one of our experienced criminal lawyers immediately.

Example

The following example was extracted from an article in Victorian newspaper The Age, 9 September 2014.

A man was arrested and charged by police for allegedly raping a 17-year-old schoolgirl in Ringwood. The man had stalked the girl and then accosted her while she was walking home from school. The incident was particularly serious, because not only did the accused man rape the victim, but he threatened her with a knife. He also told a witness that he would kill her if she ran away and told someone.

The accused had been drinking heavily during the day, and later stated he could not remember the incident. However, he admitted that if witnesses saw him, it must have been him. The accused applied for bail, but was refused on the basis that he lived close to a school and popular shopping area. Also, a search of his home found multiple hidden camera devices that the accused allegedly took with him when away from home.

The accused was believed to have a history of alcohol abuse and mental health issues. He was remanded in custody until his next court date.

Process

The accused was charged with one count of rape under section 38 of the Crimes Act 1958. The maximum penalty for rape is 25 years in prison. Due to the particularly dangerous manner in which the accused assaulted his victim, he would be very likely to serve the majority of a 25 year prison sentence.

The accused could also potentially have been charged with indecent assault under section 39 of the Crimes Act 1958, if he had assaulted the victim in indecent circumstances. There would have been indecent circumstances if he had touched the victim inappropriately while assaulting her, restricted her movement, or threatened her if she attempted to run away or fight.

Under section 40 of the Crimes Act, a person may also be charged with indecent assault with intention to rape. In this situation, the accused means to rape the victim, does not succeed in the physical act, but assaults the victim indecently nonetheless. The penalty for this offence is a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.

In the above example however, the accused could not have been charged under section 40. This charge may only be used where a charge under section 38 fails.

If a person is refused bail, they will be held in police cells or be moved to a prison or remand centre to await their court proceeding. During this time the accused may talk to a criminal lawyer who can visit them in the cells, or communicate with them over the phone in relation to their upcoming proceedings.

Following the charge, the accused was remanded to appear before the Magistrates’ Court. The accused was refused bail and was remanded to his next court date, where the matter would be decided.

If you have been charged with indecent assault or rape, whether you have been remanded or released on bail, you should contact an experienced sex offence lawyer urgently. The more time you allow a lawyer to prepare for your matter, the more likely it is that you will receive a favourable outcome in court.

Defences

It is a defence to a charge of rape if the accused can show they held an honest mistaken belief that the victim was consenting. This belief must be reasonable in the circumstances and the accused must show that they had taken all reasonable steps to ascertain whether the victim was consenting.

In the above example, it would be difficult for the accused to show that he held a mistaken belief that the victim was consenting to sexual intercourse. She was a young schoolgirl walking home, and the incident took place in a public place. The accused was intoxicated at the time, however intoxication has only in rare cases been a defence to a criminal charge.

An important element of a rape or indecent assault charge is that the victim was not consenting. This is judged objectively. If the prosecution can show that the accused should have reasonably believed that the victim was not or might not have been consenting, or that the accused did not give thought as to whether the victim was consenting, this element of the crime will be made out.

In the above example, the accused did not do anything to ascertain whether the victim was giving any sort of consent. Indeed, he held her at knife-point and threatened her with physical violence, showing quite clearly that he did not care whether the victim consented or not, .

As mentioned, the accused may have had a history of mental illness. In limited circumstances a defence lawyer may successfully show that the accused lacked the mental capacity to know what he or she was doing was wrong, or did not have the cognitive function to intend to rape the victim. In these cases, criminal penalties may be reduced, however this is rare. In fact very few mental impairments are recognised as a defence to a charge of rape or indecent assault.

Contact

The above example took place in Ringwood, in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers have an office in Ringwood, as well as offices in other eastern suburbs. There are offices in Ringwood, Dandenong, Frankston, Moorabbin and the CBD, close to the Magistrates’ Courts in those areas. If you have been charged with rape or indecent assault in the Bayside area, Greater Dandenong, or in Melbourne’s central or eastern suburbs, you should contact one of our specialist sex offence lawyers immediately.

Our sex offence lawyers are available for consultation at any one of our five offices, and can represent you at any of the eastern Magistrates’ Courts, as well as the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in the city. Our lawyers are also happy to represent you in regional courts should you be summoned to appear in a different area to where you live. This may happen if you live in the eastern suburbs, but have been charged in Melbourne’s west and summoned to appear in a Magistrates’ Court close to the location of the alleged offence.

If you have been charged with a sexual offence such as rape, indecent assault, or any other sexual charge, arrange to see one of our expert criminal defence lawyers today. The penalties for sexual offences are harsh. You may have to register as a sex offender if convicted, as well as serve time in prison. Contact one of our sex offence lawyers to assist you in your matter as soon as possible.



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