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By Jonathan Herring

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They had sexual relations together. He was charged with the offence of rape of a girl under thirteen. His defence that he believed her to be fifteen was held not to be effective because the offence was one of strict liability as regards the age of the victim. All that needed to be shown was he intended to sexually penetrate the victim. Baroness Hale dealt with his argument rather robustly: Every male has a choice about where he puts his penis. It may be difficult for him to restrain himself when aroused but he has a choice.

A defendant who has breached a duty of care will be liable to pay damages HOMICIDE in compensation to the victim’s family under the law of tort. However, the question for the jury in a gross negligence manslaughter case is whether payment of compensation is sufficient, or whether the defendant’s breach was so bad that there should be a conviction under the criminal law. The jury are given little guidance to help them decide this, and will rely on their common sense as representative members of the local community.

Just repeat after me, ‘Shall be the truth and … ’ Witness. I’m not a scholar, you know. Clerk. We can appreciate that. Just repeat after me, ‘Shall be the truth and … ’ Witness. Shall be the truth and. Clerk. Say, ‘Nothing … ’ Witness. Okay. [Witness remains silent] Clerk. No! Don’t say nothing. Say, ‘Nothing but the truth … ’ Witness. Yes. Clerk. Can’t you say, ‘Nothing but the truth … ’? Witness. Yes. Clerk. Well? … Do so. Witness. You’re confusing me. Clerk. Just say, ‘Nothing but the truth … ’ Witness.

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