South Australian Court Makes Controversial Rape Ruling

The Court of Criminal Appeal in South Australia cleared the record of a man who had been found guilty by a jury of raping a woman. The 54-year-old defendant allegedly offered to give a woman a ride, then forced her to perform fellatio and have sex with him, according to the woman. The jury found him guilty of forced intercourse, but not of forcing oral sex. At the appeals level, the court ruled 2-1 that the decision was “illogical” and “unacceptable” because intercourse in one encounter cannot be both consensual and nonconsensual. The appeals court erased the defendant’s criminal record.

This decision has caused uproar among women’s groups who fear that the lines between consensual sex and rape will be weakened in the legal system. Said Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service Director Vanessa Swan, “If someone says yes to a single sex act and then says no to a second, continuing should be considered rape. Anyone with common sense would think that, but the difficulty is translating common sense into the law,” Australia News Limited reports.

The State Government has pledged to consider new laws that would deem sex as rape, even if consent is withdrawn at anytime throughout the act.


Australia News Limited 3/20/07; Feministing.com 3/22/07

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