Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2005] All ER (D) 16 (Feb)
Court: Court of Appeal, Criminal Division
Judge:

Lord Woolf CJ, Davis and Field JJ

Representation Ian West (assigned by the Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the defendant.
  Christine Egerton (instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service) for the Crown.
Judgment Dates: 1 February 2005

Catchwords

Criminal law - Sexual assault - Elements of offence - Meaning of 'touching' - Meaning of 'sexual' - , ss 3, 78, 79.

The Case

Where a person was charged with sexual assault contrary to s3 of the Sexual offences Act and where the touching alleged was not inevitably sexual because of its nature, s78(b) of the Act applied. In such a case, a judge was to identify two distinct questions for the jury (both of which had to be answered in the affirmative in order to find the defendant guilty), namely: (i)whether they, as 12 reasonable people, considered that the touching, in the particular circumstances before them, because of its nature, might be sexual; and (ii)whether they, as 12 reasonable people, considered that the touching, in view of its circumstances, or the purpose of any person in relation to it, or both, was in fact sexual. In relation to the first question, evidence as to the circumstances before and after the touching, and evidence of the purpose of any person in relation to that touching was irrelevant.

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