Is the law a matter of fact or opinion? Today, Brendan O’ Neill followed George Galloway, John Pilger, and Tony Benn to become the latest non-lawyer to offer up his understanding of the law on rape. He’s also the latest to get it wrong, and he probably won’t be the last.
O’Neill’s post appears under the headline “It is Wrong to Say ‘Sex Without Consent is Rape’. This is provocative of course – but it also happens to be true. As with the vast majority of criminal offences in this country, rape is not a crime of strict liability, which would mean the outward circumstances of sexual penetration and the complainant’s lack of consent were enough to establish guilt. Instead, a guilty mind or, as per the Morgan case O’ Neill cites, “intent” is indeed an essential component.
But O’Neill has fatally misunderstood what is meant by the word…
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