Maintaining A Sexual Relationship With A Child - QLD
What the law says
Section 229B of the Criminal Code Queensland states:
- An adult who maintains an unlawful sexual relationship with a child under the prescribed age commits a crime.
- An unlawful sexual relationship is a relationship that involves more than one unlawful sexual act over any period.
- For an adult to be convicted of the offence of maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a child, all the members of the jury must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the evidence establishes that an unlawful sexual relationship with the child involving unlawful sexual acts existed.
- In relation to the unlawful sexual acts involved in an unlawful sexual relationship-
- (a) the prosecution is not required to allege the particulars of any unlawful sexual act that would be necessary if the act were charged as a separate offence; and
- (b) The jury is not required to be satisfied of the particulars of any unlawful sexual act that it would have to be satisfied of if the act were charged as a separate offence ; and
- (c) All the members of the jury are not required to be satisfied about the same unlawful sexual acts.
What the police must prove
In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.
- The accused did an act defined as an offence of a sexual nature in relation to the child on three or more occasions.
- The relationship of a sexual nature was unlawful-that is it was not justified, authorised or excused by law.
- The accused maintained such an ongoing relationship with the child. That is, there must be some continuity or habituality of the sexual conduct, not isolated incidents.
- The accused was a person over the age of eighteen years.
- The complainant was a child, that is, under the age of sixteen years.
It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.
The Maximum penalty for the offence of Maintaining a sexual relationship with a child is life imprisonment.
Which court will hear the matter
This matter is an indictable offence which is dealt with in the District Court.
Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to
- The accused believed on reasonable grounds that the child was at least the prescribed age, if the child was at least twelve years of age when the crime was alleged to have been committed.
- Identification of the accused
- The relationship did not constitute three separate unlawful sexual acts.
Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (a Queensland criminal defence lawyer with experience in Maintaining a sexual relationship with a child matters)