393 P.2d 673 (1964)
Defendant appealed statutory rape conviction, contending that the trial court erred in refusing to permit evidence showing defendant believed the girl was 18 years old, the age of consent. It was undisputed that the girl was 17 years and nine months of age when she voluntarily engaged in sexual intercourse.
- The court reversed the conviction, noting that at common law an honest and reasonable belief in the existence of circumstances that, if true, would make an act innocent was always a good defense.
- Applying this principle, the court held that, in the absence of a legislative direction otherwise, a charge of statutory rape was defensible when criminal intent was lacking.
- To the extent they were inconsistent, the court overruled People v. Ratz, 46 P. 915, 115 Cal. 132, & People v. Griffin, 49 P. 711, 117 Cal. 583.
The court reversed defendant's conviction on the grounds that, in the absence of a legislative directive to the contrary, a charge of statutory rape was defensible when criminal intent was lacking.
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