If you have been charged with a sexual offence, we suggest seeking expert legal advice and representation as soon as possible. The majority of sexual offences involve sexual acts without consent. Offences of this nature are serious and tend to carry harsh penalties, particularly for cases where there are aggravating circumstances and/ or involve children. Having an experienced criminal defence lawyer at your side can be the difference between securing the best or an average outcome.
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The offence of a sexual assault is contained in section 352 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld). This section makes it an offence to unlawfully and indecently assault another person or procure another person to commit an act of gross indecency or to witness an act of gross indecency. Sexual assault is a broad charge and can be a non-consensual physical act or the use of unwanted sexualised speech towards another person. The maximum penalty for a sexual assault is 10 years imprisonment. If it is an aggravated sexual assault, there is a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Rape is dealt with under section 349(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld). A rape occurs when a “person has carnal knowledge with or of the other person’ without consent, or, the other person’s body is penetrated by a thing or extension of the offender’s body”. Rape carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment. A person under the age of 16 is not legally capable of giving consent.
Unlawful carnal knowledge involves having, or attempting to have carnal knowledge of a person under the age of 16 and is dealt with under section 215 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld). For a child above the age of 12 years, this offence carries the maximum penalty of 14 years. For a child under the age of 12 years or a person with an impairment of the mind, an offence of unlawful carnal knowledge carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment. It can be argued that a person accused of carnal knowledge of a child above the age of 12 years believed, on reasonable grounds, that the child was of or above the age of 16 years as a defence.
Indecent Treatment Of A Child Under 16
Indecent treatment of a child under 16 is a serious crime that can be punished by imprisonment, even for first offences. The Queensland Criminal Code deals with this offence under section 210. For a child aged 12 or older, the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment. For a child under the age of 12 years, or for a mentally impaired person, the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment. Indecent treatment includes, but is not limited to, procurement, wilful and unlawful exposure and indecent exposure to material.
We encourage you to contact our Criminal Law Team immediately if you have been charged with a sexual offence including:
Sexual offences are serious charges and can have lifelong consequences should you be convicted. If you are charged with a sexual offence, you should make sure that your rights are protected and that you receive the best legal guidance and advice possible. Charges of rape, unlawful carnal knowledge and aggravated sexual assault are serious indictable offences and are heard in either the District or Supreme Court.
We are preferred suppliers of Legal Aid and are experienced in this area of criminal law. For further information and honest advice on your charge, contact us today.
Please note, the information above is general in nature. If you are charged with an offence, we recommend that you contact one of our criminal defence lawyers to discuss your personal situation. There is no substitute for personal advice.