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Section 66EA Crimes Act 1900
Persistent Sexual Abuse of a Child

Section 66EA of the Crimes Act 1900 is Persistent Sexual Abuse of a Child and is extracted below.

For expert advice and outstanding representation from Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Defence Firm, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers® today on (02) 9261 8881 and let our experienced defence team help you.

The Legislation

Section 66EA of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘Persistent Sexual Abuse of a Child‘ and reads as follows:

66EA Persistent Sexual Abuse of a Child

(1) An adult who maintains an unlawful sexual relationship with a child is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for life.

(2) An “unlawful sexual relationship” is a relationship in which an adult engages in 2 or more unlawful sexual acts with or towards a child over any period.

(3) It is immaterial that any of those unlawful sexual acts occurred outside New South Wales, so long as at least one of the unlawful sexual acts occurred in New South Wales.

(4) In proceedings for an offence under this section, the prosecution:

(a) is not required to allege the particulars of any unlawful sexual act that would be necessary if the act were charged as a separate offence, and

(b) is required to allege the particulars of the period of time over which the unlawful sexual relationship existed.

(5) In order for the accused to be convicted of an offence under this section:

(a) the jury must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the evidence establishes that an unlawful sexual relationship existed, and

(b) the jury is not required to be satisfied of the particulars of any unlawful sexual act that it would have to be satisfied of if the act were charged as a separate offence, and

(c) the members of the jury are not required to agree on which unlawful sexual acts constitute the unlawful sexual relationship.

(6) In proceedings for an offence under this section, the judge must inform the jury of the requirements of subsection (5).

(7) This section extends to a relationship that existed wholly or partly before the commencement of the relevant amendments, or the predecessor offence, if the acts engaged in by the accused were unlawful sexual acts during the period in which the relationship existed.

(8) A court, when imposing a sentence for an offence under this section constituted by an unlawful sexual relationship that existed wholly or partly before the commencement of the relevant amendments, must take into account (but is not limited by) the maximum penalty for the unlawful sexual acts engaged in by the accused during the period in which the unlawful sexual relationship existed.

(9) A person who has been convicted or acquitted of an unlawful sexual act in relation to a child cannot be convicted of an offence under this section in relation to the same child if the unlawful sexual act of which the person has been convicted or acquitted is one of the unlawful sexual acts that are alleged to constitute the unlawful sexual relationship.

(10) A person who has been convicted or acquitted of an offence under this section for having an unlawful sexual relationship with a child cannot be convicted of an unlawful sexual act in relation to the same child if the occasion on which the unlawful sexual act is alleged to have occurred is during the period over which the unlawful sexual relationship was alleged to have existed. This subsection does not prevent an alternative verdict under subsection (13).

(11) A person who has been convicted or acquitted of a predecessor offence in relation to a child cannot be convicted of an offence under this section of having an unlawful sexual relationship with the same child if the period of the alleged unlawful sexual relationship includes any part of the period during which the person was alleged to have committed the predecessor offence.

(12) For the purposes of subsections (9)-(11), a person ceases to be regarded as having been convicted for an offence if the conviction is quashed or set aside.

(13) If on the trial of a person charged with an offence under this section the jury is not satisfied that the offence is proven but is satisfied that the person has, in respect of any of the occasions relied on as evidence of the commission of the offence under this section, committed an unlawful sexual act, the jury may acquit the person of the offence charged and find the person guilty of that unlawful sexual act. The person is liable to punishment accordingly.

(14) Proceedings for an offence under this section may only be instituted by or with the approval of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(15) In this section:

“adult” means a person who is of or above the age of 18 years.

“child” means a person who is under the age of 16 years.

“predecessor offence” means this section before its substitution by the Criminal Legislation Amendment (Child Sexual Abuse) Act 2018 .

“relevant amendments” means the substitution of this section by the Criminal Legislation Amendment (Child Sexual Abuse) Act 2018 .

“unlawful sexual act” means any act that constitutes, or would constitute (if particulars of the time and place at which the act took place were sufficiently particularised), any of the following offences:

(a) an offence under section 61I, 61J, 61JA, 61K, 61KC, 61KD, 61KE, 61KF, 66A, 66B, 66C, 66D, 66DA, 66DB, 66DC, 66DD, 66DE, 66DF, 66F or 80A,

(b) an offence under a provision of this Act set out in Column 1 of Schedule 1A,

(c) an offence of attempting to commit an offence referred to in paragraph (a) or (b),

(d) an offence under a previous enactment that is substantially similar to an offence referred to in paragraphs (a)-(c),

(e) an offence under the law of a place outside New South Wales that would, if it had been committed in New South Wales, be an offence referred to in paragraphs (a)-(d).

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Being charged with Persistent Sexual Abuse of a Child can have a detrimental impact on your life, career and your professional reputation.

But by arming yourself with the best possible defence, you can avoid these potential consequences.

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, our lawyers are experts in the field of criminal and traffic law.

Our unparalleled knowledge of the law, coupled with years of experience fighting some of the most difficult criminal cases puts our clients at a leading advantage when it comes to securing a positive outcome in your case.

Our lawyers will carefully examine all the evidence in order to identify any possible weaknesses with the prosecution case.

Where problems are identified, our lawyers can write to police and push to have the charges dropped before your matter reaches a defended hearing.

Alternatively, if you wish to fight the charges in court, our senior lawyers will assist you in identifying and raising any possible defences.

Our experienced advocates will fight hard to win your case by presenting any favourable evidence in a compelling manner in court and casting doubt on the prosecution case.

We offer a FREE first conference with our lawyers to help you understand your options – so give us a call now on (02) 9261 8881 and take the first step in fighting your matter.


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