What if an allegation of rape or other sexual misconduct is made against you?

  • Rape and Historical Sexual Misconduct Allegations

    Allegations of sexual misconduct, including conduct alleged to have taken place many years ago, are a hot media topic right now. Many recent allegations have been made about film and other media personalities in Australia, including a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. But this phenomenon is not new, and it is not limited to media personalities. When such incidents get such wide publicity it often stimulates others in the community to make similar complaints.

    Any right-minded person would have to admit of the likelihood that not all the complaints would be for genuine reasons. Our own human experiences would inform us that there are many and powerful reasons why people might make false or misleading complaints about such matters and I am not convinced that getting money is the strongest of the motivations.

    In some countries the law places a limitation of time on sexual misconduct complaints such that the authorities cannot proceed with criminal charges unless they are brought within that time limit. It used to be the case here in South Australia too, but that was changed some years ago now. There is no limitation of time for commencing criminal proceedings in South Australia in response to allegations of sexual misconduct.

    Sexual conduct usually takes place between 2 people in a private place with no witnesses who can reliably and credibly say what really happened, so most defendants are placed in the position that if the charges are laid, it is usually one word against the other about what happened during that private sexual activity.

    To merely deny the allegation and rely on the presumption of innocent is a game that has less a chance of success than playing Russian roulette.

    You might be comforted by the presumption of innocence, namely the principle that you are innocent unless the allegations are proven against you beyond a reasonable doubt. It is true the prosecution that has to prove the case against you and you are not required to prove anything however to merely deny the allegation and rely on the presumption of innocence is a game that has less a chance of success than playing Russian roulette – you give yourself little more than a 50/50 chance that you will be found innocent.

    In my experience, unless you make a special effort in presenting your defence and have competent and experienced barristers, solicitors and skilled private investigators probing and testing the case against you and robustly presenting your case, then you are probably going to be found guilty.

    You are not guilty of rape simply because the complainant was not consenting

    Many people seem to think that a defendant is guilty of rape simply because the complainant was not consenting when sexual intercourse took place however, as a matter of law they are plainly wrong about that.

    In general terms it is only rape if you, the defendant, knew the complainant was not consenting. The consequence is that even where a victim does not consent, the defendant may not be guilty of rape.

    The fact that allegations often relate to incidents alleged to have occurred many years ago always renders the defendant at a serious disadvantage in establishing what, if anything, at all happened all those years ago.

    The prosecutorial stance in these matters is that even if the complaint is not able to be substantiated from any other source independent of the complainant, provided it is inherently credible they will go ahead with the prosecution and ‘let the jury decide.’ The fact that complaints are made years and years after the events is almost irrelevant.

    You do need a lawyer who will aggressively consider your position and actively investigate the credibility of the complaint

    If you are charged with rape or other sexual misconduct and particularly if it is a historical allegation, you do need a lawyer who will aggressively consider your position and actively investigate the credibility of the complaint and not one who merely reacts to the allegations made against you.

    Our hourly rate for time spent by a lawyer exercising legal skill or knowledge is less than the recommended court scale rate and certainly less than many other criminal lawyers, but we will fight for your rights and more importantly struggle with you to establish your innocence. We will not merely rely upon the presumption of innocence to do the work.

    If you are charged with a sexual offence be it rape or otherwise and particularly if it is a historical offence, you should really consider coming to seem me, Bill Morris, for a free first interview and see if you think I am the right fit to defend you.

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