R v MM [2020] NZYC 77

Published 01 October 2020

Trial — sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection — rape — oral connection — proof beyond reasonable doubt — propensity evidence — family violence — Evidence Act 2006, ss 35 & 43 — Crimes Act 1961, s 2. The young person faced four charges of sexual violation, three by rape and one by oral connection. It was alleged he had sexually offended against his 14-year-old girlfriend when he was 15, on three occasions over several months. The Judge had to be certain beyond a reasonable doubt that there had been sexual connection and that the young person knew the victim was not consenting. Only one charge was made out beyond a reasonable doubt, based on messages between the victim and young person where the victim told the young person she was upset he had raped her and the young person apologised. There was not enough evidence on the other charges to meet the high threshold of beyond a reasonable doubt but the Judge noted this did not mean the victim was being disbelieved. The young person was found guilty on one charge of rape. Judgment Date: 17 February 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *