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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.


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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