UK to ban its 'rough sex gone wrong' legal defence that led to lesser charges for killing women
- On Tuesday, Justice Minister Alex Chalk said an old legal defence in England and Wales known as the "rough sex gone wrong" defence will be banned later this year.
- It's been used to get lower sentences since 1972 - acts of violence are framed around victim's supposed desire for things like BDSM.
- Campaign group We Can't Consent To This compiled a list of all the times it had been used in the UK since 1972, and found 60 women's killers had used the defense.
- Louise Perry, a co-leader of the group, told the Independent it was a similar defense to one known as the "nagging and shagging defense," which tries to justify violence based on a partner's actions, like having less sex or annoying the perpetrator.
- Recently, it was used unsuccessfully by the man who killed 21-year-old British woman Grace Millane in New Zealand.
- For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
The United Kingdom's justice minister has made it clear that a legal defence in England and Wales known as the "rough sex going wrong" defence will be outlawed.
On Tuesday, Member of Parliament Alex Chalk made the declaration at a Public Bill Committee debate over the UK's new Domestic Abuse Bill.
"It is unconscionable for defendants to suggest that the death of a woman - it is almost invariably ?a woman - is justified, excusable or legally defensible simply because that woman consented in the violent and harmful sexual activity that resulted in her death," he said.
He said the government was committed to making the fact it was unconscionable "crystal clear."
He made the declaration after Jess Philips, the Labour Party's shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, spoke about a proposed amendment on the legal defense, according to the BBC.
Phillips said: The law should be clear to all: you cannot consent to serious injury or death, but the case law is not up to the task. When a woman is dead, she cannot speak for herself. Any man charged with killing a woman, or a current or former partner, should simply say, "She wanted it."
The amendment was withdrawn after Chalk's assurances.
The "rough sex defense" has been used to explain why violence occurred to get a lighter sentence for people who have committed crimes, including murder.
It was first used in 1972, when the man who killed a woman named Carole Califano - who was trying to leave him - had his charge dropped from murder to manslaughter.
More recently, it was used unsuccessfully by the man who strangled 21-year-old British woman Grace Millane in New Zealand to death. In a court in the UK, he argued she died accidentally in a "sex game gone wrong," according to The Independent.
The defense has become increasingly common, according to We Can't Consent To This, a campaign group created in 2018 to raise awareness about the defense.
Louise Perry, a co-leader of the group, told The Independent: "Killers are becoming increasingly aware of this defense. Lawyers aren't meant to propose it but people are aware of it, and its potential success."
"Men have always murdered women, this is just a new way of getting rid of them," she said.
She said it was a similar defense to another one known as the "nagging and shagging defense," which tries to justify violence based on a partner's actions, like having less sex or annoying the perpetrator.
She said that when people hear the term "rough sex" the harm is framed in a relatable way, but often the injuries are horrific.
Co-founder Fiona McKenzie compiled a list of all the times it had been used in the UK since 1972. She found 60 women's killers used the defense.
There have also been 114 women and one man who have been to court and listened to claims that they consented to violence - including things like beating, strangling, waterboarding, and asphyxiation.
The Domestic Abuse Bill is due to come into force later this year.
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