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Statutory Rape Threat in Ireland

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 13 ✭✭✭ ImaRock


    Hello Guys, I would love some help on this topic please. It was the year 1994. Ian was 18 years old and he met this girl, Barbara, who was 5 months away from her 17th birthday. No-one had ever previously discussed the topic of consentual sex laws or statutory rape laws to Ian so he for one was oblivious to all of this. They fell in Love, had sex, lived together for five years and had a baby together. At one point during their relationship they seperated during her pregnancy in 1995. They lived near each other on the same estate. They had been seperated for 3 weeks. One day Ian left his Father's house to go somewhere and Barbara was waiting across the road with other people. She started screaming things at Ian like "The baby is not yours anyway" and "You raped me because I was under 17". In Ian's head he was horrified at what Barbara was saying as this was news to him. He felt that what they had was beautiful and consentual and here this person was trying to criminalize it. I will also mention that Barbara had previously been sexually active with a previous partner before she met Ian and her parents and Ian's parents knew they were sleeping together at this time and nobody thought to educate them then until they seperated then somebody maliciously filled her head with hateful criminalizing thoughts. They later got back together, she was 17 then and at the legal age of consent by this time but seperated finally in February 1999 when Ian was 22 and Barbara was 21 but Ian has never forgot what Barbara had said. He feels that it was hurtful and he has never looked at her the same way since. Ian is almost 38 years old now and he has felt like he has had this hanging over his head as if he can still be charged with it since then. That is 20 years of suffering for him and at times during their seperation Ian has felt that he needed to agree with things that he wasn't happy about incase Barbara would still try throwing up a statutory rape claim again. Ian has been trying to get information on the Statute of Limitations for Statutory Rape in Ireland but the information is not clear and there seems to be a lot of grey areas surrounding this. Can anyone help me ease his mind on this please? Can Ian still be prosecuted 20 years later for this? Does his son's mother still have a hold on him in some way with that? I am aware that because the difference in their ages was less than 24 months that Ian cannot be put on a sex offenders register or anything as in the sex offenders act 2001 but I would greatly appreciate some correct information on statute of limitations laws in Ireland that are relevant and specific to this case please. Please help me help Ian to move on. Oh, just to mention the child they had is now 18 years old, in college doing a degree course and Ian still sees him and went to court 14 times over the years seeking access, guardianship, legalizing maintenance, breach of access on Barbara's part and finally a custody attempt as Barbara was on Heroine. Many Thanks for your time everyone, Peter.


Comments



  • What's your point, that the laws governing sex, family and reproduction are de facto biased against males? That the only legal reform we have seen in the last few decades has been to deal with antiquated laws prejudicial against women or gays, but never men? Or that this is because men's rights groups couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery if they wanted to, much less lobby the government for reform, as other groups (such as the aforementioned women and gays) have successfully?

    Or did you want to sell us a story so we'd all go 'awe'...

    How exactly do you want us to "please help [you] help Ian to move on"? You haven't explained where you're going with this.




  • Or did you want to sell us a story so we'd all go 'awe'...

    There was no sympathy asked for here. I clearly ask "Can Ian still be prosecuted 20 years later for this? Does his son's mother still have a hold on him in some way with that?". Anyone that reads my post properly will be able to see this and wouldn't need to ask "What's your point?" or "Where are you going with this?". If you can help, great. If not thank you for your time.




  • ImaRock wrote: »
    There was no sympathy asked for here. I clearly ask "Can Ian still be prosecuted 20 years later for this? Does his son's mother still have a hold on him in some way with that?".
    Fair enough, I stand corrected - although, in my defence your post is not the most readable in the World (that's why we have paragraphs).

    To answer your question, the answers are technically yes and yes. I believe there is no statute of limitations on statutory rape or indecent assault (many abusers are not brought to court until decades after the crime was committed). And as it is illegal for him to have sex with her when she was under 17, he could be tried and convicted accordingly.

    Given this, the sex was consensual (unless she changes her story on that), their ages simelar and I suspect it would be easy to show that she's simply doing this out of spite, it would be extremely unlikely that he would receive any custodial sentence. Nonetheless, he would be convicted and with such a conviction he would go on the record as a sex offender.

    How Irish law deals with 'Romeo and Juliet' cases is infamously backward and has been strongly criticized my many, but there's practically no political pressure to do anything about it.




  • I am not 100% on this but as the other poster mentioned, technically yes he can be held liable HOWEVER, the fact that they lived together for 5 years the court would straight away dismiss the claim because a couple living together for 5 years or more are considered to be co-habitants in the eyes of the court. So you cant live and have a relationship with someone for 5 years and then suddenly scream rape.

    Secondly, the fact that they kept breaking up and getting back together is more proof to the court that there was a consented relationship between them!

    Lastly, if the woman is a heroin addict, the court will find it a lot harder to believe her side of the story.

    Can I just say though, if the woman was after telling him that the baby wasn't his and that he raped her etc. etc and you said "They later got back together, she was 17 then and at the legal age of consent by this time but separated finally in February 1999 when Ian was 22 and Barbara was 21 but Ian has never forgot what Barbara had said".....why did he get back with her in the first place if he never got over what she said?!? I am in no way blaming Ian for what happened! But I don't understand why he would get himself BACK into this situation when he knew what kind of woman he was dealing with!

    Best of luck to Ian but im confident he has nothing to worry about!!!




  • ImaRock wrote: »
    Hello Guys, I would love some help on this topic please. It was the year 1994. Ian was 18 years old and he met this girl, Barbara, who was 5 months away from her 17th birthday. No-one had ever previously discussed the topic of consentual sex laws or statutory rape laws to Ian so he for one was oblivious to all of this. They fell in Love, had sex, lived together for five years and had a baby together. At one point during their relationship they seperated during her pregnancy in 1995. They lived near each other on the same estate. They had been seperated for 3 weeks. One day Ian left his Father's house to go somewhere and Barbara was waiting across the road with other people. She started screaming things at Ian like "The baby is not yours anyway" and "You raped me because I was under 17". In Ian's head he was horrified at what Barbara was saying as this was news to him. He felt that what they had was beautiful and consentual and here this person was trying to criminalize it. I will also mention that Barbara had previously been sexually active with a previous partner before she met Ian and her parents and Ian's parents knew they were sleeping together at this time and nobody thought to educate them then until they seperated then somebody maliciously filled her head with hateful criminalizing thoughts. They later got back together, she was 17 then and at the legal age of consent by this time but seperated finally in February 1999 when Ian was 22 and Barbara was 21 but Ian has never forgot what Barbara had said. He feels that it was hurtful and he has never looked at her the same way since. Ian is almost 38 years old now and he has felt like he has had this hanging over his head as if he can still be charged with it since then. That is 20 years of suffering for him and at times during their seperation Ian has felt that he needed to agree with things that he wasn't happy about incase Barbara would still try throwing up a statutory rape claim again. Ian has been trying to get information on the Statute of Limitations for Statutory Rape in Ireland but the information is not clear and there seems to be a lot of grey areas surrounding this. Can anyone help me ease his mind on this please? Can Ian still be prosecuted 20 years later for this? Does his son's mother still have a hold on him in some way with that? I am aware that because the difference in their ages was less than 24 months that Ian cannot be put on a sex offenders register or anything as in the sex offenders act 2001 but I would greatly appreciate some correct information on statute of limitations laws in Ireland that are relevant and specific to this case please. Please help me help Ian to move on. Oh, just to mention the child they had is now 18 years old, in college doing a degree course and Ian still sees him and went to court 14 times over the years seeking access, guardianship, legalizing maintenance, breach of access on Barbara's part and finally a custody attempt as Barbara was on Heroine. Many Thanks for your time everyone, Peter.
    he's grand


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  • Ashbx wrote: »
    I am not 100% on this but as the other poster mentioned, technically yes he can be held liable HOWEVER, the fact that they lived together for 5 years the court would straight away dismiss the claim because a couple living together for 5 years or more are considered to be co-habitants in the eyes of the court. So you cant live and have a relationship with someone for 5 years and then suddenly scream rape.
    Unfortunately they had not lived together at the time they had sex and even if they had she was under 17, making her ineligible for the provisions in the Cohabitation Act and the act you speak of didn't even exist, while we're at it.

    So they would still have to act on such an accusation and he would be guilty of breaking the law, but it is at this stage that their history together would come into play and mean he'd never see a night in prison.
    Secondly, the fact that they kept breaking up and getting back together is more proof to the court that there was a consented relationship between them!
    I don't think you understand the concept of statuary rape; it means that a person cannot legally consent - even if they say 'yes' they are not considered to be of sound mind or mature enough to do so.
    Lastly, if the woman is a heroin addict, the court will find it a lot harder to believe her side of the story.
    If the child was born as a result of under-age sex and it is his, they don't need to believe her story. Even juries can do basic math....
    But I don't understand why he would get himself BACK into this situation when he knew what kind of woman he was dealing with!
    Because he was young and stupid and frankly most people under 25 probably don't have the maturity to consent to sex, even if they have the legal right to do so.
    Best of luck to Ian but im confident he has nothing to worry about!!!
    I'm afraid that legally, he does. Whether it comes to anything, is another matter as I doubt it would be an accusation that would be welcomed by the legal system.




  • Well thank you for absolutely slamming all my suggestions! I thought I had some valid points there. Although my first line was im not 100%.....

    Can I ask are you a solicitor or barrister to know all this?




  • Ashbx wrote: »
    Well thank you for absolutely slamming all my suggestions! I thought I had some valid points there. Although my first line was im not 100%.....
    It wasn't a personal attack, you just happened to be wrong. And at least you made more effort than posting "he's grand".
    Can I ask are you a solicitor or barrister to know all this?
    No, but do I need to be? If you read the link I posted above, the case in question pretty much covers many of the points you made and clearly points out how bizarre Irish law is. Reality is most guys don't know about this - honestly, as they're unlikely to ever bother teaching boys anything to protect themselves from such scenarios in school, parents should.




  • Oh I have had personal attacks on this before and I know you weren't attacking me...just put me in my place!! :)

    No you don't need to be, just curious how you know so much. Im a legal executive and I don't know half as much as that!(albeit I work in funds so never got taught that side of the law). Agree completely with the more education needed though!

    OP - Sorry, cant be much help to you. The fact that you never mentioned that Barbara had any intention to bring this up again, im sure Ian has nothing to worry about at the moment!




  • Tbh only way to be sure is to get legal advice, but tbh I can't see the dept of public prosecutions being interested in taking a case.


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  • Ashbx wrote: »
    No you don't need to be, just curious how you know so much. Im a legal executive and I don't know half as much as that!(albeit I work in funds so never got taught that side of the law).
    I'm a polymath ;)

    Seriously, I have more than a passing interest in men's rights, and the case in question is well known. I'd also add that I consider most men's rights groups and activists to be composed of either insane misogynists or ineffectual morons who are too afraid of upsetting the politically correct apple cart to actually achieve anything (the proof being that nothing has actually been achieved - not a single reform).

    And it helps when half of your friends are either barristers or solicitors.




  • Morag wrote: »
    tbh I can't see the dept of public prosecutions being interested in taking a case.
    Neither can I, but would you have seen them interested in taking on the case I linked to above?

    I think it comes down to what is de jure versus de facto. De jure, Ian is likely in trouble as it would be a clear case of statutory rape, even if it happened years ago. De facto, most would see it as a waste of money, so Barbara would find a lot of difficulty pushing it through - presuming she did. And then what would she achieve in the end really?

    It's like suing an unemployed student journalist who's libelled you on their blog; de jure you've probably an open and shut case. De facto, it's a waste of time and money.

    I'd echo the opinion that consulting a solicitor is the only way to be sure.




  • Thank you for reminding me about paragraphs. Normally I do write with paragraphs but in my haste to remember the details I just kept writing and pressed enter this time.
    I really appreciate everyone's input on this. To answer a question. Barbara never once mentioned bringing this back up again but Ian feels feels that by lovingly sleeping with his partner that he unknowingly and unintentionally done something which he was later informed was seen in the eyes of the law as a crime and he just does not want to feel like a criminal.
    To answer another question "Why did Ian get back with Barbara after the accusations"- One of the reasons was that he was young, another was she was pregnant and a child involved so Ian was confused as to what the right thing to do was and the main reason is because after the Statutory rape threats Ian was scared about whether she would try anything in spite and about going to prison or having the guards involved so he got back with her until he could figure out what to do.
    I will speak with a solicitor and get some more information. Any new information specific to this situation will be appreciated. Have a great day :).




  • The Romeo and Juliet law is irrelevant in these circumstances as it refers to cases where both participants are underage. [As an aside, it's mighty frustrating that it's called a Romeo and Juliet law, as this term when used in most other countries means the precise opposite of the law as it stands in Ireland.]
    ImaRock wrote: »
    Ian feels feels that by lovingly sleeping with his partner that he unknowingly and unintentionally done something which he was later informed was seen in the eyes of the law as a crime and he just does not want to feel like a criminal.

    When an adult chooses to engage in sexual intercourse, they are obliged to be certain that they are doing so within the terms of the law. Ian was a grown adult when he had sex. Barbara was 16 and a half. Adults are expected to know that the age of consent is 17, and to obey that law.

    Ian's sole defence appears to be ignorance of the law, and that, as the old saw goes, is no excuse.

    In practice as all other posters have said, he is unlikely to face prosecution but for his own peace of mind if nothing else, he should seek proper legal advice. Not anonymous opinions based on third-hand information.




  • Thank you Factcheck.




  • I do think that that infamous Romeo and Juliet case was taken to show how bad the law is and to try to pressure a change in legislation. We have seen the judiciary do this before and alas get ignored even when they do manage to spark public debate and outrage.




  • First, the OP was interesting, but I wonder why such a question was not posted in the Legal Discussion forum.

    Secondly, indictable offences such as statutory rape do not have a statute of limitations type effect in this country. Potentially, a rapist/stat rapist could always be looking over his shoulder.




  • First, the OP was interesting, but I wonder why such a question was not posted in the Legal Discussion forum.
    Perhaps they did not want the discussion framed solely in terms of law. Or, more likely, they didn't know that the Legal Discussion forum existed - Hell, I don't know half of the forums here and I've been here for years.




  • Forgive my ignorance if I am wrong , but wasn't the age of consent increased from 16 to 17 sometime in the noughties?




  • The age of consent was 17 before that too. The previous law was a 1935 law, which was challenged and found to be unconstitutional. Therefore, a new law had to be enacted in order to mend the resulting gap in the law.

    The current position is in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006.


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  • No, the age of consent has been 17 in Ireland since the 1930s. You are probably thinking of the "honest mistake" furore which led to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006 (and the separate furore about exempting girls under 17 from prosecution which followed it).


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