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Day: February 28, 2011

When is rape not rape? When the attacker is drunk

Now that isn’t a title of a blog post I ever thought I’d be writing nor is it the punchline to a horrific gag.

A small story only picked up my one of the nationals (depressingly it was the Daily Mail) says that a man who had sex with someone who didn’t consent has been found not guilty by a jury at Guildford Crown Court because he was too pissed to realise that it wasn’t his girlfriend. Haydor Khan from my old stomping ground of Farnham went into the wrong room at a hotel and proceeded to have sexual intercourse with a person whom he believed was his partner, however it wasn’t and when the accused realised this he fled the scene.

Now first things first. I have always lived under the belief that being drunk is no excuse for bad behaviour, whether it is criminal behaviour or just being an asshole. No-one forces you to get drunk so if you act like an ass then you have no excuses. Secondly even if this was his girlfriend, having sex with someone whilst they are asleep and haven’t consented is as far as I’m aware rape is it not?

What this does though is set a very dangerous and worry precedent that the ‘being too drunk to notice’ defence is actually plausible and can hold up in a Court of Law. Now obviously I didn’t hear all the evidence and no doubt there was more to this case than has been published but on the surface whilst it does seem like a genuine case of mistaken identity, the being drunk defence is scary. Now if you don’t know what you are doing then you can use that defence and in theory it should be successful. If you drunkenly punch a bouncer but say you thought it was your mate and he wouldn’t mind then bang – you should in theory have a solid defence.

My last point. He wasn’t so drunk that he couldn’t get it up and in my knowledge (I said knowledge not experience there – an importantly distinction to make) then that isn’t being too drunk to not realise who you are sleeping with. Still, what do I know? The jury found him Not Guilty and that as they say is that.

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