Accused relied on mistake of age defence

Ontario criminal | Defences

MISTAKE

Accused relied on mistake of age defence

Accused, who was 40-year-old male, picked up complainants, who were two teenaged girls who were hitchhiking. One girl was 14 and one-half years old and other girl was 15 and one-half years old. Complainants expressed interest in engaging in sexual activities and accused drove to parents’ home where they had sexual intercourse. Complainants could not consent to sexual acts but trial judge allowed accused to rely on mistake of age defence and acquitted accused. Crown appealed acquittal. Appeal dismissed. There was no basis for appellate intervention with judge’s holding that accused took all reasonable steps to ascertain complainants’ ages. Furthermore, reasonable person would have been satisfied that complainants were over 16, just as complainants intended, without need for further inquiry.
R. v. Chapman (Apr. 28, 2016, Ont. C.A., E.A. Cronk J.A., M. Tulloch J.A., and K. van Rensburg J.A., CA C60515) 130 W.C.B. (2d) 403.


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