Man has sex with ‘unconscious’ woman and goes free

// 24 November 2005

The case in question, as reported by the Evening Standard, involves a woman who alleges she was raped whilst lying unconscious, claiming “If I had wanted to sleep with him I would have taken the few steps to my bedroom”. According to the ES, the prosecution’s case collapsed on the grounds that she couldn’t remember the attack taking place – well, no, because she was unconscious!

I thought the law had been changed such that parties having sex should make sure they’re *sure* consent has been given? Strikes me that nobody can lay reasonable claim to certainty when THE PERSON THEY’RE HAVING SEX WITH IS UNCONSCIOUS. It seems pretty clear cut to me.

However, the judge, a Mr Justice Roderick Evans, instructed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty “even if you don’t agree”.

I am flabbergasted at both the outcome of this trial, and the manner in which the ES reported it – splashing the headline “Binge Drinkers Can’t Cry Rape” below a banner advert for a report on the new 24 hour drinking laws, and the Daily Mail predictably followed suit this morning with almost the same headline.

The Guardian picked this up this morning, reporting that Vera Baird QC, an MP and criminal lawyer called the case “outrageous” and has said that she will be asking the Lord Chancellor and Director of Public Prosecutions to review the case.

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