Assault with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence

- Section 42 of the Crimes Act 1958

Assault with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence is used when the Police allege you have assaulted another person with the intention of forcing them into a sexual act.

This is an indictable offence, which means that it must be heard in the County Court.

Examples of Assault with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence
  • A man grabs a stranger in a suburban park and forces her to the ground with the intention of forcing her to perform oral sex on him, when 2 passers by arrive at the scene. The man then flees.
  • A man forces his way into a stranger’s house and tries to force sex on her. The man runs away when the woman calls the police.
Our client went to an apartment where he thought his sister’s violent ex-partner was. Our client found the ex-partner wasn’t there. The person who was actually present gave an initial statement where she described our client calming down, handing over the scissors he was armed with and then leaving.

Some weeks later this person provided another statement to the police wherein she alleged that our client had led her upstairs in the apartment and told her he wanted to have sex with her.

The client then faced charges of aggravated burglary and false imprisonment and a charge of assault with intent to rape (now called Assault with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence) founded on the second statement.

We negotiated for the withdrawal of the Assault with Intent to Rape charge, and our client pleaded guilty to the other 2 charges.
What is the legal definition of Assault with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence?
The legal definition of Assault with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence is when someone assaults another person as part of an attempt to force them into a sexual act.

Legislation
The section that covers this offence is section 42 of the Crimes Act 1958.

Elements of the offence
The following are elements of the charge of Assault with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence:

“- The accused intentionally applied force to another person (V); and – The person (V) did not consent to the application of that force; and – The accused intended for V to take part on a sexual act at the time of applying the force; and – The accused did not reasonably believe that V would consent to taking part in that sexual act.”1

[1] Australian legal Information Institute. “Crimes Act 1958 – Section 42: Assault With Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence.” Austlii.edu.au. http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s42.html (accessed January 30, 2020).
 
What are possible defences to an Assault with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence charge?
  • The sexual act was consensual.
  • There was no intention to commit a sexual offence.

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

“Can they prove an intention to commit a sexual offence?”

 

Questions in cases like this
  • How do they prove the intention to commit a sexual offence?
  • Was the sexual interaction consensual?

 

The maximum penalty for this offence is level 4 imprisonment (15 years).

Assault with intent to commit a sexual offence is a very serious offence that will normally result in a gaol term if you are found guilty.