Call to look anew at rape 'consent'

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 05:00 27/11/2013

Relevant offers

Politics

Grant Robertson, Bill English square off in housing debate The 'Mad Men' budget 'Fat people' to blame for tobacco tax: Winston Peters Schools will decide how to spend targeted funding for under-achieving kids Key gets tough on Auckland with new policy forcing councils to release land TPPA, housing and child poverty protesters greet John Key on Palmerston North visit Govt thinks about compulsory warranty to protect against building flaws Jeremy Elwood & Michele A'Court: Paying the rent DHBs still being shortchanged, says Labour - unveils health map to highlight regional shortfalls Below the beltway: The week in politics

The Government should take a fresh look at the definition of consent in rape cases in the wake of the Roast Busters sex scandal, Labour says.

Justice Minister Judith Collins yesterday confirmed amendments to make it less traumatic for sex attack victims to give evidence in court would be introduced early next year.

The changes include a requirement for a rape case defendant to give notice - before a trial begins - of intention to use evidence about a victim's sexual history.

Collins intends to amend the Evidence Act, saying it is too easy for the defendant to "ambush" a victim with details of their previous sexual experiences.

However, Labour's justice spokesman, Andrew Little, is calling for an amendment to the definition of consent in the Crimes Act, saying it is still, in part, based on the defendant's perception.

"If we defined ‘consent' in terms only of whether as a matter of fact it was given, we end up requiring the defendant to give evidence about consent and subject them to cross examination, rather than just the victim," he said.

Currently the law requires two things to prove sexual violation - that the accused did not have the person's consent, and did not believe on reasonable grounds that the person was consenting.

Little also wants judges to control the cross-examination of the victim.

Green MP Jan Logie said the law changes were "baby steps".

"The reforms that she has announced, while a positive step, are not going to achieve the change that New Zealanders are crying out for and would not, for example, have made prosecuting the so-called Roast Busters group any more likely," she said.

The changes are based on recommendations from the Law Commission, delivered in March.

The public began demanding changes to the justice system in the wake of the Roast Busters scandal, in which victims were reluctant to come forward.

The Roast Busters are a group of young West Auckland men who claim to have had group sex with drunk, underage girls.

Collins said child witnesses would also give their testimony to a court through a video of their police interview. If this was not possible, they could do so by CCTV or from behind a screen.

Ad Feedback

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content