Sections 61 I-K Crimes Act 1900 | Sexual Assault


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The Crimes Act contains several sections that deal with sexual assault.

While sexual assault is a serious offence that carries heavy penalties, with the help of an experienced criminal lawyer you can fight the charges and get a favourable outcome in your case.

Each of the offences which deal with sexual assault are discussed below

Section 61I – Sexual Assault

Section 61I of the Crimes Act makes it an offence to have sexual intercourse with another person without their permission.

Sexual intercourse under the Crimes Act not only includes genital penetration by another person’s body parts, but also includes oral sex and penetration of a person’s genitals using objects.

Section 61I says that if you are found guilty of sexual assault, you could face a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment – however, this is a maximum penalty and only applies in the most serious cases.

Section 61J – Aggravated Sexual Assault

Under s 61J, you could face harsher maximum penalties if you are found guilty of aggravated sexual assault, which is a more serious form of sexual assault in ‘circumstances of aggravation.’

There are nine ‘circumstances of aggravation’ under the law. They are:

  • Where you intentionally or recklessly inflicted actual bodily harm upon the other person during a sexual assault
  • Where you threatened to use a weapon or dangerous instrument
  • Where one or more other people were present when you committed the sexual assault
  • Where the complainant was under the age of 16
  • Where you were in a position of authority over the complainant – e.g. a teacher, employer or carer
  • Where the complainant had a serious cognitive impairment
  • Where the complainant had a serious physical disability
  • Where you committed a ‘break and enter’
  • Where the complainant was deprived of their liberty before or after the sexual assault

Section 61J says that the maximum penalty for ‘aggravated sexual assault’ is 20 years imprisonment, however this is the absolute maximum and only applies in the most serious cases.

Section 61JA – Aggravated Sexual Assault in Company

Section 61JA deals with the offence of ‘aggravated sexual assault in company,’ which refers to situations where you sexually assault someone while there is another person, or persons with you, and you:

  • Intentionally or recklessly inflict actual bodily harm upon the complainant or someone else who is nearby
  • Threaten to inflict actual bodily harm upon the complainant or someone nearby using an offensive weapon or instrument
  • Deprive the complainant of their liberty before or after the sexual assault

In these situations, the law says that the maximum penalty is life imprisonment – however this is the maximum penalty and will only apply in the most serious cases.

Section 61K – Assault with intent to have sexual intercourse

Section 61K says that it is illegal to deliberately or recklessly inflict actual bodily harm upon another person with the intention of having sexual intercourse with that person.

Actual bodily harm is any kind of psychological or physical injury that is more than merely ‘transient or trifling’ – for example, bruises or scratches, or anxiety or depression.

It is also an offence under section 61K to threaten to inflict actual bodily harm on another person using a weapon with the intention of having sexual intercourse with them.

The maximum penalty for either of these offences is 20 years imprisonment – however this is the absolute maximum and will only apply in the most serious cases.

For more information about sexual offences, visit our sexual offences page.

The Legislation

Sections 61 I-K of the Crimes Act deal with sexual assault offences and read as follows:

61I Sexual assault

Any person who has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person and who knows that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

61J Aggravated sexual assault

(1) Any person who has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person and in circumstances of aggravation and who knows that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse is liable to imprisonment for 20 years.

(2) In this section, “circumstances of aggravation” means circumstances in which:

(a) at the time of, or immediately before or after, the commission of the offence, the alleged offender intentionally or recklessly inflicts actual bodily harm on the alleged victim or any other person who is present or nearby, or

(b) at the time of, or immediately before or after, the commission of the offence, the alleged offender threatens to inflict actual bodily harm on the alleged victim or any other person who is present or nearby by means of an offensive weapon or instrument, or

(c) the alleged offender is in the company of another person or persons, or

(d) the alleged victim is under the age of 16 years, or

(e) the alleged victim is (whether generally or at the time of the commission of the offence) under the authority of the alleged offender, or

(f) the alleged victim has a serious physical disability, or

(g) the alleged victim has a cognitive impairment, or

(h) the alleged offender breaks and enters into any dwelling-house or other building with the intention of committing the offence or any other serious indictable offence, or

(i) the alleged offender deprives the alleged victim of his or her liberty for a period before or after the commission of the offence.

(3) In this section, “building” has the same meaning as it does in Division 4 of Part 4.

61JA Aggravated sexual assault in company

(1) A person:

(a) who has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person and who knows that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse, and

(b) who is in the company of another person or persons, and

(c) who:

(i) at the time of, or immediately before or after, the commission of the offence, intentionally or recklessly inflicts actual bodily harm on the alleged victim or any other person who is present or nearby, or

(ii) at the time of, or immediately before or after, the commission of the offence, threatens to inflict actual bodily harm on the alleged victim or any other person who is present or nearby by means of an offensive weapon or instrument, or

(iii) deprives the alleged victim of his or her liberty for a period before or after the commission of the offence,

is liable to imprisonment for life.

(2) A person sentenced to imprisonment for life for an offence under this section is to serve that sentence for the term of the person’s natural life.

(3) Nothing in this section affects the operation of section 21 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (which authorises the passing of a lesser sentence than imprisonment for life).

(4) Nothing in this section affects the prerogative of mercy.

61K Assault with intent to have sexual intercourse

Any person who, with intent to have sexual intercourse with another person:

(a) intentionally or recklessly inflicts actual bodily harm on the other person or a third person who is present or nearby, or

(b) threatens to inflict actual bodily harm on the other person or a third person who is present or nearby by means of an offensive weapon or instrument,

is liable to imprisonment for 20 years.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

If you have been charged with a sexual offence, your next step should be to speak to an experienced criminal defence lawyer about your options.

Sexual assault cases are often complex, and demand the skill and expertise of a specialist lawyer.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers specialises exclusively in criminal law, and we have extensive experience fighting and winning these types of cases.

Our expert knowledge and understanding of sexual assault law enables us to get the best possible results for our clients in these complex cases.

In some cases, we are able to get charges dropped outside of court by raising problems with the prosecution case at an early stage in the proceedings.

Where the prosecution refuses to drop the charges, our dedicated advocates will fight hard to protect your interests in court by raising all possible defences in a compelling manner, along with any evidence that supports your case.

Even if you simply want to plead guilty and accept the charges, our lawyers can help you achieve the most lenient penalty possible by presenting your case in the most favourable light.

Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference to find out how we can help you win your sexual assault case.