Over the past four years we have seen a distinct increase in sexual assault allegations said to have occurred anywhere between 10 to 40 years ago. The complainants, in our experience here at Criminal Lawyer Perth, are female and aged anywhere between 30 years and 60 years. The defendants are aged between 45 years and 75 years.
There are common themes surrounding the nature of the alleged acts constituting sexual assault.
In just about every case the complainant’s description is very narrowly described, with little or no account of surrounding events, such as what occurred in the lead up to and after the allegations. These are what we describe as “contextual” events and include such things as what the complainant was doing before and after the alleged event. For example, was it a weekday or weekend, was the complainant at work or school the next day, and who did they have contact with before and after.
Without any evidence the jury have no context
Without that evidence from the complainant a jury is left with no context to make a decision — they merely have a pencil-line sketch of the allegation/s upon which to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of a defendant’s guilt.
One view on this issue is that the passing of time dims memory and makes recall of details difficult, if not impossible. The opposing view is that a simple lie is much easier to maintain than a complex or series of lies. By contrast there are complainants that present offering very compelling details about and around the alleged assault.
There are also common facts as to the whereabouts of the complainant’s mother or grandmother, or sibling. Just taking cases where the mother features. Mum is most often always present somewhere in the house. At night mum was either watching TV in the lounge room or asleep in the main bedroom. In the case of alleged assaults in the shower, mum is often in the kitchen as shower time usually happens just before the evening meal.
Other commonalities between cases is the alleged offence was never spoken about to the mother, siblings or teachers and friends at school, at or around the time of the alleged offence. In fact the first complaint is made a decade or more after the alleged assault.
There are rarely any triggering events available on the facts or reported by the complainant to explain why it took so long for the complaint to speak to someone about the alleged offending. It seems to be accepted that persons alleging sexual assault are in a different class to others which say they were punched, kicked, stabbed, head-butted, stolen from and so on. Except in the case of the most serious offences such as murder, time marches on.
When the accused pleads guilty
In cases where we receive instructions to enter a plea of guilty the features or particulars of the sexual assault are more precisely defined, recall of the surrounding events are reasonably clear, despite the effluxion of time, and from an overall forensic perspective the State’s case appears to be well made out. In such cases the accused intention to plead guilty is formed well before he presents to us seeking help on a plea in mitigation.
If you have been charged with sexual offending whether contemporaneous or historical it is in your best interest to obtain legal advice sooner rather than later. Our professional and competent criminal lawyers at criminal lawyer Perth are experienced in defending allegation of sexual assault.
If you wish to contact us to expertly go over your case, obligation free, then call on 0422 656 589.