R v COLLINS

A conviction of burglary with intent to rape becomes convoluted when under appeal, the defendant places the burden of proof upon a building fixture.

In an unprecedented case, the defendant was a teenager who for one reason or another, took it upon himself to enter a teenage girl’s bedroom before engaging in sexual intercourse.

What distinguishes this impulsive act from one that many might expect at that age, is the fact that the complainant allowed his entry on the mistake that she believed him to be her boyfriend, and not a complete stranger.

Having first consumed a large amount of alcohol, the defendant decided that one way or another, he was going to have his way with a willing girl, somewhere.

On this occasion, he selected the home of a girl who, while not directly known to him, he had seen when working on her parents house sometime before.

Having climbed a ladder to her bedroom window, the defendant saw her lying naked in her bed and removed his clothes, while fully aroused.

The complainant was also inebriated to some degree, and therefore beckoned him into her bed, while physically pulling him in before they began to have sex.

After a period of time, the complainant realised that the person she was having sex with was not her boyfriend; upon which, she slapped him and ran to her bathroom.

Following his arrest the following morning, the defendant confessed to his actions but denied that he intended to rape her; instead noting that she had willingly invited him into her bedroom (much to his surprise) on the pretence that they were to have sex.

When heard before a jury, the charge brought before them relied upon section 9(1)(a) of the Theft Act 1968, which explained that burglary was an act requiring trespass with intent to commit an offence, which in this instance fell under section 9(2) as rape.

Having explained the nature of his entry and the preceding acts, the judge left the jury to consider whether his trespass was intentional or reckless, upon which it was agreed that the former applied.

Having appealed, the defendant challenged the conviction on grounds that it had been unproven as to whether the entry was undertaken based upon the complainant’s words and actions, and thus remained unproven as to whether the defendant was outside the window frame or inside the bedroom when she invited him in.

In light of the fact that insufficient evidence existed when establishing that fact, it was decided by the Court that a degree of misdirection had occurred in the original hearing, and so without the full disposal of the truth the conviction for burglary could not stand, while the court reminded the parties that:

“[T]here cannot be a conviction for entering premises “as a trespasser” within the meaning of section 9 of the Theft Act unless the person entering does so knowing that he is a trespasser and nevertheless deliberately enters, or, at the very least, is reckless as to whether or not he is entering the premises of another without the other party’s consent.”

R v BREE

The premise of statutory rape relies upon the principles of informed consent, and such legalities further rely upon the effects of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 when establishing guilt.

On this occasion, the defendant contended that the act of sex between himself and the complainant began and ended with reasoned determination, and not forcible violation.

When a group of university undergraduates chose to have a night out, they did so in the knowledge that drinking to excess brings consequences that while not unexpected, can lead to actions which in the aftermath of intoxication, give rise to shame and regret.

After drinking a voluminous amount of alcohol and liquid stimulant, the complainant paired off with the defendant, before both of them returned to her lodgings; whereupon, the complainant began vomiting.

Having cleaned her up and placed her in her bed, the defendant sat with her, before the two began physically enjoying each other (albeit through physical cues and minimal dialogue).

Having discussed the availability of contraception, they proceeded to engage in intercourse; again, with the defendant relying upon visual and audible cues as to the complainant’s consent.

For preventative reasons, the act of intercourse ceased, before the defendant left the property, after having asked if the complainant wished him to stay the night.

It was shortly afterwards that the complainant contacted friends and family while intoxicated, to explain her distress at what had occurred.

Citing statutory rape, the case was brought before the Crown Court, where the jury were asked to consider the ramifications of section 74 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which outlined in instances where rape under section 1 of the Act has been claimed:

“[A] person consents if he agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.”

Sexual Offences Act 2003

It was this distinction, that when held against the facts of the case, was of primary importance to the minds of the jury when determining guilt; and so, as the finer points of the complainant’s statement were examined, it became apparent that despite being heavily intoxicated prior to her vomiting, her state was such that she was aware enough to know that she, and the defendant, were engaging in sex; and that at no point did she express her unwillingness to have unprotected sex prior to the defendant withdrawing from the act before ejaculation could occur.

In the first hearing, the jury found the defendant guilty of statutory rape; yet upon appeal, the Court examined the subtleties of the judges direction, and noted that inadequate emphasis had been placed upon the complaint’s conscious acquiescence in lieu of the defendant’s persistence.

These differences persuaded the verdict rather than apportioning responsibility on both parties as consenting adults; and so, in light of these oversights, and in addition to a number of secondary mitigating factors, it was then agreed that for those reasons the conviction was to be quashed, while the court reminded the parties that:

“[F]or the purposes of the 2003 Act “capacity” is integral to the concept of “choice”, and therefore to “consent”

PEOPLE v. ALLWEISS

Circumstantial evidence of crimes committed beyond the realm of an immediate offence, can be used to support the conviction of a defendant, but only when such information demonstrates an overwhelming similarity to that used in the matter at hand; as was found in a truly disturbing case involving multiple rapeS and eventual murder of an innocent victim that instead chose to fight back during her ordeal.

Sometime in 1977, the appellant was indicted and convicted of second degree murder in the New York County Supreme Court, following the stabbing and strangulation of what was to be his seventh victim in less than six months.

Upon his appeal in the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, the appellant argued that in the absence of any witnesses, and with its verdict resting solely upon the witness testimony of his six previous rape victims, there was insufficient grounds to sustain his conviction beyond a reusable doubt.

In response, the court first turned to People v. Molineux, in which the New York Court of Appeals had held that:

“[W]hen evidence of an extraneous crime is admissible to prove the crime for which a defendant is on trial, it is not necessary to prove every fact and circumstance relating to the extraneous crime that would be essential to sustain a conviction thereof.”

People v. Molineux

And so, in order to ascertain the weight of evidence before them, the court went on to note that in each of the previous six rapes, the appellant had (i) informed the victims that his alleged wife or fiancée had been recently attacked and injured, (ii) seized his victims by the throat, (iii) threatened his victims with a knife, (iv) made physical contact with their lingerie collection, (v) forced his victims to wear specifically chosen underwear, and (vi) stolen property from their apartments after raping them.

While on this occasion, the victim had screamed out for help, a resistance which resulted in the appellant strangling her with her own underwear before wounding her with a knife multiple times, both of which, while different in their effect, bore very close resemblance to his previous methodology, and to which the appellant contested that in People v. Goldstein the New York Court of Appeals had later held that:

“[E]vidence that defendant committed other or similar offenses is not admissible to prove his guilt of the crime for which he is being tried. One may not be convicted of one crime on proof that he probably is guilty because he committed another crime.”

People v. Goldstein

However, the court rightly determined that in addition to the circumstantial similarities shown by the six previous rapes, there was also compelling witness testimony as to the appellant’s voice pattern, and his whereabouts both before and after the offence discussed, and so with little hesitation the court upheld the supreme court conviction in full, while holding that:

“Another crime or crimes of the defendant are not admissible to establish that the defendant committed the crime charged where the only connection between the crimes is a similar modus operandi. If, however, the modus operandi is sufficiently unique logically to point to the defendant as the perpetrator of the crime charged, evidence of the other crimes is admissible.”