Charges Laid Against a Perth Man Highlight the Potential Dangers of Dating Online
A Perth man was recently charged with offences relating to allegations of drugging and sexually assaulting two women that he allegedly met on an online dating site. The Magistrates Court has, according to media reports, refused him bail. Police are also currently investigating other alleged incidents involving a number of other women.
The Criminal Charges
The allegations are said to relate to separate incidents where the accused man has allegedly spiked the women’s drinks – and that as a result the women lost consciousness.
It was reported that the WA Police told the court toxicology reports indicated the presence of the drug ketamine in the women’s systems. Ketamine is a type of anesthesia. It induces dissociative anesthesia, a trance-like state providing pain relief, sedation and amnesia. Like many drugs, ketamine is possessed illegally for the purpose of getting high.
Sexual penetration without consent
Sexual penetration without consent has previously been referred to as rape, although that’s no longer a term that is used in our current legislation. Section 325 of the Western Australian Criminal Code states that:
(1) A person who sexually penetrates another person without the consent of that person is guilty of a crime and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.
Under WA law, penetration includes penetration of the vagina or anus or mouth with any part of the body or an object.
Consent is not freely or voluntarily given by a person in circumstances where the person is rendered unconscious due to the influence of alcohol or drugs. A lack of consent may also arise in circumstances where the sexual penetration occurs as a consequence of threats, intimidation, force or deceit.
What the court must prove for an offence of sexual penetration without consent
- The accused is the person who committed the act which constitutes the offence
- That the accused sexually penetrated the victim.
- That the sexual penetration took place without the victim’s consent.
Stupefying in Order to Commit an Indictable Offence
Pursuant to s.293 of the Code, a person commits a crime if they administer or attempt to administer any stupefying or overpowering drug or thing to another person with the intention to:
- Commit or facilitate the commission of any indictable offence; or
- Facilitate the flight of an offender after the commission or attempted commission of any indictable offence.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. It may be committed in circumstances where a person is given a drug without their knowledge and with the intention of committing any indictable offence. An indicatable offence is any offence which can only be heard in the District or Supreme Court before a judge and jury.
Sexual penetration without consent is an indictable offence.
Take precautions when you’re dating online
The accused person in the case above is of course entitled to the presumption of innocence until such time as the allegations are proved. However, the case does highlight the need for people to exercise caution when online dating.
During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns more people joined online dating than ever before. And while many close relationships commence via a dating app, or a dating website, people who use these platforms should be aware of the potential dangers that can arise.
People should exercise caution about the extent of personal information that they share about themselves online, at least until they become well acquainted with the other person.
Sextortion and revenge porn are becoming increasingly common. Sextortion occurs in circumstances where a person uses an intimate image to blackmail another person. Revenge Porn occurs in circumstances where a person shares an intimate image of another person without their consent.
PLEASE NOTE: The material in this blog post is for informational use only and should not be construed as legal advice. For answers to your questions regarding this or other topics, please contact a professional legal representative.