Anastasia Qvist is an outstanding lawyer. My criminal law situation (family violence order) was difficult, complex and Ana's diligence saved me as I was going through the most difficult period of my life. Ana is down to earth, commonsense and she even kept our costs to a minimum. She is a skilled litigator and knows the ins and outs of the ACT Magistrates Court. She dealt skillfully with the DPP and is an excellent negotiator. You will get a fair representation and she genuinely cares about her clients. She has my complete recommendation. The lady goes to bat for her clients.
I would strongly recommend Anastasia to anyone who is seeking legal representation. As a first-time offender who was charged with a Level 2 Drink Driving offence, she walked me through every step of the matter and was very upfront and clear on all aspects of my case. She was always accessible when I needed advice. Her approach and advice were excellent. Under her representation, I received the best possible outcome and managed to avoid a criminal conviction. She was a pleasure to deal with throughout the whole matter.
Anastasia Qvist was very professional and helpful in every step of my matter. I got a very good outcome and I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and the Armstrong Legal team in Canberra. I would highly recommend her!!!
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Sexual Offences Against Adults
Sexual offences in Western Australia are contained in the Criminal Code Compilation Act 1913. The legislation contains a range of sexual offences against children who are too young to validly consent to sex as well as sexual offences against adults. The lack of consent is an essential element in most sexual offences against adults,
The definition of consent is contained in Section 319 of the act and is ‘free and voluntary agreement’. A person’s consent is taken not to be free and voluntary if it was obtained through force, threats, intimidation, fraud or deceit. Section 319 specifies that a person is not to be taken to have consented to sex simply because they do not offer physical resistance. It also specifies that a child below the age of 13 cannot consent to a sexual act.
In Western Australia a person can legally consent to sex at 16 in most situations. However, where a young person is under another person’s care, they must be 18 to validly consent to sex with that person. Sexual offences that consist of having sexual contact with a child between the ages of 13 and 16 can be validly defended by adducing evidence that the child consented to the sexual act if the accused was not more than three years older than the child at the time of the alleged offence.
Sexual offences involving penetration
Sexual penetration without consent is an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment (Section 325).
Sexual penetration includes penetration of a vagina, anus or mouth by a penis or the penetration of a vagina or anus by another body part or by an object manipulated by another person. It also includes oral sex (Section 319).
If sexual penetration without consent occurs in circumstances of aggravation, a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment applies. Section 319 provides that circumstances of aggravation are:
- The accused is or pretends to be armed with a weapon;
- The accused is in the company of one or more other persons;
- The accused does bodily harm to another person;
- The accused acts in a way that substantially degrades or humiliates the victim;
- The accused makes threats to kill the victim;
- The victim is under 16 years of age.
Indecent assault attracts a maximum penalty of imprisonment for five years (Section 323). An assault is indecent if the offender touches the breasts, genitals or anus of another person or if the assault was committed in indecent circumstances.
Mistaken belief in consent
If a person accused of sexual offences under Section 325, 323 or 327 held an honest and reasonable belief that the alleged victim was consenting, they can argue the defence of Mistake of Fact (Section 24). For this defence to succeed, the mistaken belief must have been based on reasonable grounds.
Under Section 327, it is an offence to coerce a person to take part in sexual behaviour. This offence carries a maximum of 14 years imprisonment. Coerced sexual behaviour may involve forcing a person to have sex with another person, forcing a person to masturbate or forcing a person to have sexual contact with an animal.
It is an offence under Section 329 to engage in sexual penetration with a person who the accused knows is their lineal relative. This includes parents, siblings, half-siblings, children, grandchildren and grandparents. It also includes adoption relationships.
Sexual offences against incapable persons
A suite of offences also exists under Western Australian law relating to sexual behaviour with incapable persons. An incapable person is a person who is mentally impaired to the point of being incapable of understanding the nature of the act or of guarding themself against sexual exploitation (Section 330).
It is an offence to sexually penetrate an incapable person knowing them to be an incapable person or to procure, incite or encourage an incapable person to sexual behaviour. It is an offence to indecently deal with an incapable person knowing them to be incapable or to procure, incite or encourage an incapable person to do an indecent act, or to indecently record such a person.
It is a defence to any of the above sexual offences if the accused was married to the incapable person at the time.
It is an offence to conduct a business involving another person being compelled to provide sexual services (Section 331C). This offence attracts a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment. If the alleged victim is a child or an incapable person, the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment.
It is an offence to offer someone employment knowing that the employment will involve giving commercial sexual services without disclosing this to the person. This offence carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for seven years where the victim is an adult and 20 years where they are a juvenile or an incapable person.
If you need legal advice or representation in relation to sexual offences against adults or in any other legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal.
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WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.
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