[On cross examination] she admitted "emitting a pleasurable groaning sound" at one stage, but added: "I was unconscious. I stopped groaning as soon as I knew something was happening."The prosecutor folded his case admitting "drunken consent is still consent" and the judge directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict.
As you might imagine, every politician and and wag who sees any possibility of making hay with this has come forward.
Labour MP Vera Baird, said the judge was incorrect.And while that's pretty obviously a politician making hay, some have laid out the case more eloquently.
"He is wrong, there is no doubt about that, it is a dreadful error. The judge is utterly and totally wrong, he needs to be spoken to and sent on some re-training. This is a dreadful outcome because women will now think they cannot have a single glass of wine - I think this is going to put women off coming forward again and again."
Until the 2003 Act came into force, a man would normally be acquitted if he could show that he "honestly" believed that consent had been given, even if a woman claimed that she had protested.All-in-all, a disturbing shift from the prosecution proving guilt to the prosecution proving opportunity and then forcing the defense to prove innocence. However, I am not an expert on the laws of the U.K. so I cannot comment on whether that's an accurate assessment of the law.
But this "honest belief" defence made juries reluctant to find defendants guilty in date rape cases and the conviction rate fell from one in four reported rapes in 1985 to one in 14 today.
The Government thought that more guilty verdicts would be returned if the consent provision was tightened, so it replaced the old defence with a new test: if the prosecution could prove that there was reasonable room for uncertainty over whether consent was given - and the defendant did not take reasonable steps to ensure that it was - he would have committed a rape.
Once the prosecution has proved that sexual activity took place in one of the precluded circumstances, it would be for the defendant, on the balance of probabilities, to persuade a jury that consent had been given.
I get a few hits here daily from the U.K. Anybody able to explain what the actual state of the law is?