Sexual Assault Lawyers Sydney
As per section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) “Any person who has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person and who knows the other person doe not consent to the sexual intercourse” will be found guilty on sexual assault charges.
In order to understand the offence of sexual assault, it is best to understand how the Court defines consent. A person knows if another person does not consent:
- The person knows the other person does not consent,
- The person is reckless as to whether the other person consents,
- The person has no reasonable grounds for believing the other person consents.
A person does not consent to sexual intercourse if:
- The person does not have the capacity to consent
- The person does not have the opportunity to consent
- The person consents to sexual intercourse because of threats of force or terror
- The person consents because they are unlawfully detained
Furthermore, the grounds upon which it may be established that a person does not consent to sexual assault include:
- The person has sexual intercourse whilst substantially intoxicated by alcohol or drugs
- The person has sexual intercourse as a result of intimidation or coercion.
- The person has sexual intercourse because of the abuse of a position of authority or trust.
If the above points can be established, it is likely that a sexual assault charge will follow. If you or someone you know has been charged with the offence, it is advised to seek legal representation immediately.
Sexual assault is perceived as a very serious crime and attracts significant penalties. Section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) states that any person found guilty on the basis of sexual assault shall be liable to 14 years imprisonment. This sentence also carries a standard no-parole period of 7 years. While this is the case, Crimes Statistics Australia revealed that 64% of sexual assault convictions receive a full time custodial sentence, such as imprisonment. This means that the NSW Court has the ability to impose alternative penalties in appropriate circumstances.
Upon consideration of the crime, personal character, criminal history and individual circumstances, the Court may determine that less significant penalties such as Community Service Orders (CSOs), Intensive Corrections Order (ICOs), good behaviour bonds or fines may be appropriate in this instance.
For more accurate advice in relation to the penalties that relate to your specific case should you be facing sexual assault charges, contact our expert criminal defence lawyers for a first consultation.
To be found guilty sexual assault charges as per section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900, the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt.
- That you engaged in sexual intercourse with another individual;
- That the person did not consent; and
- You knew that person did not consent.
If you tend to agree with the sexual assault charges made against you, you have the ability to plead guilty. In this circumstance, you will proceed to sentencing where you could be facing up to 12 years in gaol.
While majority of sexual assault cases result in a full time custodial sentence as seen by Crimes Statistics Australia, NSW Courts have the ability to enforce alternative penalties in appropriate situations. Typically, a guilty plea results in an alternative penalty or lesser sentence as it demonstrates remorse for your actions. Whether the court decides to reduce the gaol term, or impose penalties such as community service or fines, these outcomes are generally much more favourable as opposed to being found guilty otherwise.
Our Sydney based sexual assault lawyers may also be able to negotiate a deal with the prosecution team, given you enter a guilty plea. We work closely with all the clients we represent and provide honest advice if it is in your best interest to plead guilty or not guilty.
At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are some of the best criminal lawyers in Sydney who are proud to hold a 90% success rate on all criminal cases that we have represented. If you or someone you know is facing sexual assault charges, it is advised to seek legal representation immediately.
Call our sexual assault lawyers now to schedule a first consultation where we can provide tailored advice in relation to your specific matter.
Alternatively, you have to option to plead not guilty, in which your case will then proceed to trial. In this instance, the Police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did commit the offence as per section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900. If the Police are able to successfully prove the allegations, you will be found guilty of sexual assault and the above penalties will be inflicted.
For your best chance to avoid harsh penalties, it is advised to seek legal representation from our highly qualified criminal defence and sexual assault lawyers. At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are a highly experienced Sydney based criminal defence law firm and have successfully represented many criminal cases, including those relating to sexual assault. In order to receive the best outcome possible for our client, it is our job to cast doubt of the evidence provided by the Police. To do so, we will negate the evidence by implementing a relevant defence strategy, as listed below.
If our criminal lawyers are successful, the Court may completely dismiss the charges of sexual assault, in which no penalties will apply. In other instances, our defence strategies only provide a partial offence, whereby charges will be downgraded and less severe penalties will be faced, which is more favourable than the maximum imprisonment term of 14 years if found guilty of sexual assault.
For relevant advice in relation to whether you should plead guilty or not guilty, please do not hesitate to contact our Sydney based criminal law firm for a first consultation.
Charges of sexual assault is commonly defended in NSW. In order to disprove the allegations made against you, our Sydney based criminal defence lawyers may use the following defence strategies, where appropriate.
Actual Innocence: A claim innocence is not sufficient enough to negate the claims of sexual assault. If evidence can be provided that proves that you were not involved in the offence, such as CCTV footage of you being at an alternative location when the offence took place, reasonable doubt will be cast on the allegations, in which you will be found not guilty.
Consent: The idea of consent can often be complicated, controversial and difficult to prove. There is also confusion amongst the public relating to the circumstances that surround consent. In NSW law, someone is unable to give consent when they are asleep or unconscious, intoxicated or affected by drugs, unable to understand what they are consenting to due to their age or intellectual capacity, intimidated, coerced or threatened, unlawfully detained, or the victim has only submitted due to the offender being in a position of trust. If any of these facts can be established, the defence of consent will not apply. In order for this defence to be raised, it must be proven that the accused did receive free and voluntary consent from the victim, however, there is not always firm evidence to prove consent, which can sometimes hinder the case.
Mental Illness (Insanity Defence): Applies in situations where it can be proven that the accused was significantly mentally impaired and did not know that their actions are perceived as wrong. It must be proven that the actions were as the result of a disease of the mind in which the accused is not aware of the consequences of their actions.
Sexual assault charges are taken very seriously in the NSW Court system. Therefore, the crime of sexual assault is classified as an indictable offence, in which the matter will be heard at the District Court.
As expert sexual assault lawyers based in Sydney, Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders possess a vast range of experience in defending various criminal cases throughout Local, District and Supreme Courts in NSW. With a 90% success rate for all the cases we represent, our clients can be confident that our team will achieve the best outcome possible regardless of the Court the matter is heard in.
If you are someone you know is facing sexual assault charges, contact our team now for a first consultation.