LETTER : A new definition of rape needed

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The Independent Online
Sir: Glenda Cooper's article on the argument for a new crime of date rape (19 June) quotes the erroneous opinion that a "lesser" offence would somehow reduce the standard of proof. All crimes must be proved beyond reasonable doubt, not "beyond probable doubt".

The real problem with rape is that the crime itself requires proof that the man knew or was reckless about his victim's lack of consent to intercourse. Presumably this mens rea requirement would still exist in any new "date rape" law.

If this were abolished, making a man guilty simply if it is proved beyond reasonable doubt he had intercourse with a woman who did not consent, the law would be clearer and fairer to victims. It would send out a clear message that men must be sure there is consent before they have intercourse.

WYN DAVIES

Burry Port, Dyfed

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