B v. Director of Public ProsecutionsSynopsis:
A 15-year-old defendant is tried and convicted for statutory rape/soliciting sexual acts from a child under 14. Defendant appeals conviction on the basis that he thought the child was over 14 when he committed the illegal act.
-A 15-year-old boy solicits oral sex from a 13-year-old girl
-The boy claims to not have known that the girl was under 14 when he committed the illegal act.
Issue: Does a mistake of fact about a victim’s age in a statutory rape case can prevent a conviction for the crime.
Holding: Yes, mistake of fact can be a defense if it is an honest mistake of fact, meaning the boy really did not know the age of the victim.
Analysis:-Rather than the standard being a reasonable mistake, the standard should be making an honest mistake.
-If the defendant genuinely did not know the victim’s age, he should not be convicted of the crime. -Defendants should be judged on the facts as they believe them to be, and thus this defendant is not liable for the crime.
Conclusion:-The appeal is allowed.
-If defendant really did not know the age of the victim, he will be acquitted.
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