A member of a group under police surveillance who had entered into a sexual relationship with an undercover police officer was unable to establish that her lack of knowledge as to the officer’s true identity vitiated her consent to sexual relations within the meaning of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 s.74. There was no justification for extending the common law position as contended for by the claimant, namely that the matter to which the deception related had to be sufficiently serious in objective terms as to be capable of being regarded as relevant to a woman’s decision-making and that, subjectively, the deception went to a matter which the woman regarded as critical or fundamental to her decision-making.
Although a judge had unnecessarily and improperly intervened during a defendant’s examination-in-chief, the interventions were not so significant as to materially impair the defendant’s ability to put his case before the jury. The judge’s interventions, combined with deficiencies in his summing-up, had not deprived the defendant of a fair trial.
A 16-year extended sentence for the rape of an ex-partner was neither manifestly excessive nor wrong in principle where the judge had been entitled to conclude that the offender was dangerous and a post-sentence report documented no change in mentality. There could also be no proper complaint about a concurrent 12-year sentence imposed for a second count of rape against the same victim.
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission had no standing to seek a declaration that abortion law in Northern Ireland was incompatible with ECHR art.3 and art.8 because it had not instituted proceedings by identifying any unlawful act or any actual or potential victim. Although the Supreme Court therefore had no jurisdiction to make a declaration of incompatibility, it considered that the current law was disproportionate and incompatible with art.8 insofar as it prohibited abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and where pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.
A prosecutor’s decision not to charge a man with the rape of a woman with learning difficulties was not irrational. The circumstances of the man’s acquittal some years earlier on charges of sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder impeding choice were such that the prosecutor had been right to conclude that the man would be able to establish that a second prosecution was an abuse of process.