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Best Defence to Sexual Offences | Sydney Criminal Lawyers

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Sexual offences in New South Wales are those which involve some form of sexual context or sexualised physical contact, and can range from offences such as obscene exposure, sexual acts and sexual touching through to child sexual offences and aggravated sexual assault.

Reports of sexual allegations can outrage observers and cause the public – and even friends and family members – to jump to conclusions, despite the questionability  of the claims.

In our experience, these charges are often brought in the most tenuous of factual circumstances, with police adopting a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ attitude far more readily than in many other offence categories.

Being accused of a sexual offence  can be distressing, and it is important to engage the services of experienced, specialist defence lawyers who are able to act empathetically and work thoroughly and dispassionately; carefully analysing the evidence, gathering material and formulating effective case strategies, with a view to accurately advising you of your options and the best way forward, and fighting for a just outcome.

We have been there for countless clients who have gone through the most serious of sexual proceedings – cases initially presented by police and prosecutors as strong before revealed as anything but after the complete picture is unravelled; just have a look through our recent cases to read about some of these.

We often have charges dropped in the early stages of proceedings by ascertaining inconsistencies and deficiencies in the evidence, as well the availability of legal defences, and an exceptional track record built over decades of achieving not guilty verdicts when cases nevertheless proceed to defended hearings and jury trials.

So if you are accused of a sexual offence, call us right away on (02) 9261 8881 and let us take care of the legal side of things and reduce your burden, so you can get on with your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with.

Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

    Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

    Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

    A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD offices, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

What is Sexual Intercourse?

‘Sexual Intercourse’ is defined by section 61H of the Crimes Act 1900 as:

  • any penetration of a female’s genitalia, or anus of any person, by any part of another person or by an object,
  • any penetration of any person’s mouth by any part of another’s penis, or
  • cunnilingus.

A defence to ‘sexual assault’ is where the penetration was for ‘proper medical purposes’.

What is Consent?

From 1 June 2022, a new definition of consent applies to the offences of sexual assault, sexual touching and sexual act – including the aggravated versions of the offences.

The new definition states generally that:

  • A person consents to sexual activity if he or she “freely and voluntarily agrees” to the activity,
  • Consent can be withdrawn by words or conduct at any time,
  • Sexual activity that occurs after the withdrawal of consent is deemed to be without consent,
  • Consent is not established merely because a person does not offer physical or verbal resistance,
  • Consent to one form of sexual activity is not taken as amounting to consent to another. In that regard, the Act expressly states that consent sexual activity with a condom does not amount to consent to such activity without one, and
  • Consent to sexual activity on one occasion is not taken as amounting to consent on another.

The definition makes clear there is no consent if a person:

  • Does not say or do anything to communicate consent (which is sometimes referred as the requirement to obtain affirmative consent),
  • Does not have the capacity to consent (due, for example, to a cognitive impairment that requires supervision or social habilitation in connection with daily life activities),
  • Is so affected by alcohol or another drug/s as to be incapable of consenting,
  • Is unconscious or asleep,
  • Participates because of force, fear of force or harm of any kind to him or her, another person, an animal or property, regardless of whether the feared force or conduct actually occurred, or was a single act or an ongoing pattern of conduct,
  • Participates because of coercion, blackmail or intimidation regardless of when it occurred or whether it was a single act or an ongoing pattern of conduct,
  • Participates because he or she, or another person, is unlawfully detained,
  • Participates because he or she is overborne by the abuse of a relationship of authority, trust or dependence,
  • Participates because of a mistaken belief about the nature or purpose of the sexual activity, including whether it is for health, hygienic or cosmetic purposes,
  • Participates because of a mistaken belief about the identity of the other person or that they are married,
  • Participates because of a fraudulent inducement, which is not a misrepresentation about the other person’s income, wealth or feelings.

It also states that a person is taken to know the other person does not consent to the sexual activity if:

  • The person actually knows the other person does not consent,
  • The person is reckless as to whether the other person does not consent.

In that regard, a person is ‘reckless’ if he or she realised at the time that consent may possibly be absent but went ahead with the sexual activity regardless; or

  • Any belief the person has that the other person consents is not reasonable in the circumstances.

It says that in determining whether there is consent, the fact-finder must:

  • Must consider all of the circumstances of the case including what, if anything, the defendant said or did, but
  • Must not consider any self-induced intoxication of the defendant.

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