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ACT Will Check Stupefication Law Change

ACT Will Check Stupefication Law Change

Thursday 19 Jun 2003 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Crime & Justice

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks today said that a law change is needed against opportunists who rape stupefied victims - even where they haven't done the stupefying - but that ACT will examine the drafting very carefully.

"Politicians love fiddling with sex offence laws. They have a habit of casting the net too wide, because it makes for better slogans. But innocents can end up trapped in nightmare proceedings because long-standing rules of evidence have been pruned," Mr Franks said.

"In this case, the boundary between a drunken `yes' that should have been `no', and `yes' that means `yes', might depend on hindsight reconstruction in light of morning-after regrets. Plainly, everyone should understand the difference between unconsciousness and lucid consent - but how many can be sure of the difference between having a wild time while `out of your tree' and, on the other hand, being blind drunk, dazed and `out of it'?

"The safest new law would content itself with reasonable ambitions - catch the obvious cases, which everyone would agree on, where the victim is near unconscious. A new law should steer clear of territory where judges and juries must decide whether `yes' meant `no', just because the consenter is now claiming they didn't know what they meant - though their words or actions said `yes', or at least `I don't care if you do'.

"The law should also distinguish between the position of a drink-spiking victim, and that of someone who loses their inhibitions because they've got themselves legless. The law already says self-inflicted drunkenness is no excuse if you commit a crime, nor should drunkenness be an aid to making false accusations of crime against others," Mr Franks said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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