The defendant said in answer to a charge of rape that he knew he had the woman’s consent because both by word and by deed she plainly told him so. The jury clearly disbelieved him. On appeal he asked the court whether the jury should have been directed as to the legal position arising if the accused mistakenly believed that the woman was consenting, a version which he never advanced at the trial.
Held: The appeal failed. The court surveyed the authorities and said: ‘when once there is some evidence of belief and reasonable ground for it, the jury should be told that a guilty mind is a necessary constituent of the crime and that unless they are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, on a consideration of all the evidence, that that constituent along with the others has been proved, they should acquit.’ and ‘the jury should only consider the possibility of the accused having acted on a wrong belief as to the facts when there is some evidence that he did honestly believe at least that the necessary facts existed.’
Gavan Duffy J
(1947) VLR 392
Cited – Regina v Morgan HL 30-Apr-1975
The defendants appealed against their convictions for rape, denying mens rea and asserting a belief (even if mistaken) that the victim had consented.
Held: For a defence of mistake to succeed, the mistake must have been honestly made and need . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 04 May 2022; Ref: scu.258679