Sex, lies and legal consent: Can deceit turn sex into rape? - Sandra Paul comments in BBC News

27 September 2019

In a previous articleSandra Paul commented in BBC News about Jason Lawrance appealing against his vasectomy lie rape convictions. Sandra has now provided further comment in BBC News in a follow up article exploring the issues surrounding deceit.


Could removing a condom count as rape?

Twelve per cent of the women surveyed reported knowing that stealthing had happened to them, although some might never have realised it had happened. Many people would not consider stealthing to be rape but Sandra Paul, a solicitor who specialises in cases of sexual misconduct, believes it is under UK law.

 What if a man doesn't withdraw?

Such a case has already been considered by a UK court and it involved a husband and wife. She didn't want to have any further children and agreed to have sex provided he withdrew before he ejaculated. He seemingly agreed to that but there was sufficient evidence to show he had no intention to withdraw.

The CPS decided not to prosecute the husband for rape, so the wife applied for a judicial review of the decision. The Admin court made it quite clear that in their view there was good reason for the CPS to consider charging; what happened was capable of amounting to an offence in that her consent had been negated by his never intending to withdraw. It was sent back to the CPS for them to review their decision based on what the court had said.

Could lying about an STI test count as rape?

Lying about having had an STI test is more of a grey area. It's difficult, I think that, probably, if we were taking baby incremental steps from the decision that's been made about Lawrance, as we must do in the absence of legislation, then potentially.

What if a woman lies about being on the pill?

The issue is the extent to which the lie vitiates (negates) consent. If a man finds himself a father of a child under these circumstances, there are all sorts of consequences that flow from that.

It might be argued there is a double standard. In so many walks of life we (women) have achieved equality and demand to be treated with the same level of respect as men. Where the lie deemed to create criminal liability is exactly the same, I think it is problematic to carve out areas where we are protected solely because we are women.

What about other lies?

More guidance is needed about the extent to which lies negate consent - and this will hopefully come in the form of a judgment from the Court of Appeal now the Lawrance convictions are being challenged.

Ultimately it may well be that legislation is required. Failing to wear a condom when you said you would, I think clearly on the face of the legislation as it stands, is problematic but an adult lying about their age in most circumstances probably isn't.

 In the absence of specific legislation, who makes the rules about what's in between, and how are juries to navigate these decisions".

Further information

Please click here to read the article in full on the BBC News website.

Should you have any questions, please contact a member of our Criminal Law team in confidence.

About the author

Sandra Paul has a wealth of experience in criminal and related litigation. The majority of her work concerns defending allegations of sexual offences. She works with clients in the UK and abroad, including allegations following the #MeToo campaign. Drawing on her advocacy experience, Sandra is particularly accomplished in preparing witnesses to give an account or evidence in settings ranging from court proceedings through to internal and external investigations or inquiries.  Sandra’s career has included discreet representation of high profile individuals including politicians, bankers, music, sports and media personalities.

Share insightLinkedIn Twitter Facebook Email to a friend Print

Email this page to a friend

You may also be interested in:

Let us take it from here.

+44 (0)20 7814 1200

enquiries@kingsleynapley.co.uk

Skip to content Home About Us Insights Services Contact Accessibility