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Sexual assault is defined in the Crimes Act as: "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."In other words, there are four elements that need to be established in court: In court, the person alleging rape is called the "complainant" and the person accused of the rape is called the "defendant".Sexual assault is what's known as a "strictly indictable offence," meaning it's so serious that it has to be heard by a judge and jury in either the District or Supreme Court.The trickiest part though is around the defendant's knowledge of consent and it can become a case of one word against another."If someone says they weren't consenting, it's really difficult to argue with that because their thoughts are their thoughts," Mr Tiedt says.The criteria for determining whether the defendant knew there was no consent is outlined in the Crimes Act:61HA (3): A person who has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person knows that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse if: The issue of consent is further complicated if parties are intoxicated, mentally ill or are impaired in another way.A starting point in the Crimes Act is that consent must be freely and voluntarily given.Consent that is threatened out of someone does not count.This process can last up to two days - although this is rare - and is widely accepted as being difficult and at times harrowing for the complainant.
Juries are randomly selected and there is no requirement that they include a certain number of women or men.
Mr Tiedt says as a general rule, no."Only if it's relevant," he says.
"The court would keep a barrister on a very short leash."But he concedes there are other ways that these messages can be conveyed to a jury."If there's a photograph of a complainant up on a screen, who knows what a jury will take into account."Consent is a hugely complicated area in the law around sexual assault, and many cases hinge on different versions of whether sex was consensual or not.
"The show CSI has wrecked people's understanding of DNA," he says.
"People often just don't leave DNA."A lack of DNA is not evidence that sexual contact didn't take place because some people are simply "poor shedders," meaning they shed less skin (and DNA) than others.