Sexual assault is one of the most serious crimes in New South Wales. And, the courts take such cases with utmost seriousness. The Bureau of Crime statistics also revealed that sexual assault cases are rising in New South Wales. Dozens of cases of sexual assault top the headlines in Sydney, where girls are assaulted in schools, at parties by their male friends. The laws are therefore stringent, protecting the victim and punishing the accused.

If you are accused of any sexual assault, you need to prepare your defence with the help of a sexual assault lawyer Sydney. Besides, you have to understand the laws regarding sexual assault and what options you have.

Sexual Assault in New South Wales

Sexual assault is a crime that falls under section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) ('the Act'), and it carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

As per New South Wales Consolidated Acts, sexual assault is when"any person who has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person and who knows that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse is liable to imprisonment for 14 years".

Consent means that there one person has given permission for sex. The legal consent age in NSW is 16 years old.

What Are Your Options?

Sexual assault charges can put your life upside down and can be very daunting. Hence, you need an experienced lawyer by your side to put your point forward.

If you are charged with sexual assault, you have two options: Pleading guilty and Pleading not guilty.

Pleading Not Guilty

Sexual assault cases can be quite tricky. An experienced sexual assault lawyer in Sydney can help you prove your innocence. You should find a lawyer who has a good track record in proving clients' innocence and getting their charges dropped. They will advise you on the best defence available to you. 

The police or lawyer has to prove the following:

  • There was sexual intercourse with the alleged victim
  • The sexual intercourse happened without the victim's consent, and
  • You knew before that the victim had not given consent

Your defence for the allegations above would be:

  • There was no sexual intercourse with the help of DNA evidence or alleged traces of DNA on the victim's body.
  • The victim gave their consent to sexual intercourse.
  • You had solid reasons for believing that the alleged victim consented to the sexual intercourse.
  • The intercourse was for medical purposes
  • Duress: you were threatened and compelled to perform the act.
  • Necessity: the conduct was necessary and was believed to be necessary.

Pleading Guilty

In a guilty plea, a sexual assault lawyer in Sydney will confirm that you are pleading guilty to the magistrate. Then, they will tender documents like a fact sheet, criminal record, photos of the injury, etc., to the magistrate. After going through all the prosecution and police documents, the magistrate will determine the type of penalty you will receive. 

The types of penalties that may apply are:

  • Prison
  • Section 10 Dismissal
  • Fine
  • Conditional Release Order
  • Intensive Correction Order
  • Community Correction Order

Sexual assault is a grave offence and can carry lengthy prison terms. Hence, it is crucial that you talk to your lawyer to help get an outcome in your interest. An experienced lawyer can help in downgrading your charges. They can suggest you plead early as it can reduce your punishment. Your lawyer can also help you in obtaining references from people who can verify your good character.