LETTER: A case of mistaken consent When consent is mistaken

ELIZABETH Heathcote assumes that if a man is acquitted of rape, the jury must have thought the woman victim was lying ("Are nine out of ten women liars?", 16 April). This is not necessarily so. Under the Sexual Offences Act 1976, two things must be proved. First, the defendant had intercourse with a woman who at the time of the intercourse did not consent to it. Second, the man either knew she was not consenting or realised she may not have been consenting. In other words he was reckless about her consent. Therefore it is perfectly possible for a jury to conclude that a woman was telling the truth about not consenting, but that the man made an honest, even stupid, mistake. If the jury believes him, he must be acquitted.

Wyn Davies

Burry Port, Dyfed

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