At Criminal Lawyers Perth we are receiving more and more calls from men charged with sexual assault. The charges are sometimes contemporary going back days, weeks or even months. We are however, experiencing an alarming increase in calls from men facing allegations going back decades. Anecdotally, the rate of historical allegations of sexual
assault seem to be rising.
In order for us to competently handle your case we are constantly revising our knowledge of why reports of historical rape appear to be on the rise, the nature of the allegations and the surrounding circumstances and context in which the allegation is said to have occurred.
As we then identify the common difficulties in defending an historical rape charge and then factors particular to our client’s case. Armed with this knowledge we can then begin to prepare for trial. This includes identifying and addressing all the technical and factual aspects of the case.
Going deep into the relevant laws surrounding the alleged offence, what has to be proved by the prosecution to do with evidence, criminal court procedures and most importantly ways to make sure our client is kept informed and understands how his case develops every step of the way.
Causes of increased number of reported rape
More TV newspaper and social media coverage of arrests and trials. Institutional development such as the establishment of various government and non-government agencies to support victims alleging that they have been sexually assaulted and the #MeToo movement fortifying victims of alleged sexual abuse to come forward and report their experiences.
Historical sex offences are one of the most difficult cases to defend. The difficulty arises not from a legal technical perspective such how to prepare a defendant for trial or determining the approach to conducting a trial. The difficulties have more to do with factual matters surrounding the allegation and the defendant’s ability to defend the charge.
Difficulties in Defending Historical Sex Offences
An offence occurring on the day. The elapse of time sometimes decades between the alleged offence to the time of trial attracts considerable forensic disadvantages to the defendant and the defendant’s trial counsel. For example, memories dim over time, being able to recall specific contextual and background factors become blurry or even non-existent.
If the alleged offence is reported to police within days, weeks or even months the defendant is better able to recall his movements on the day, better describes the context of his movements, and call upon witnesses that corroborate his movements. Potential witnesses favourable to the accused may have died during the intervening period.
There is a growing number of sexual assault allegations many going back decades being reported. There are various reasons for this fact:
What makes an offence classes as historical
- Delayed Complaint
- Accused EROI
- Complainant Child Witness Interview