Paedophiles could get lighter sentences if victim 'gives consent'

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Paedophiles who abuse children of 12 or under may receive shorter jail terms if their victims "consent" to sex, according to sentencing rules published this week. The law currently considers such youngsters incapable of giving consent - so sexual intercourse is automatically classed as rape. However, judges have now been told that it may be "material in relation to sentence" if the child agreed to intercourse. The guidelines, which are binding on crown courts in England and Wales, astonished and outraged children's campaigners who warned they risked becoming a "paedophiles' charter" - enabling child abusers to escape with lighter punishments. They claimed the rules gave credibility to the idea that a 12-year-old girl could properly decide whether to have sex with an adult. [...]

"In such circumstances presence of consent may be material in relation to sentence." The rules state that this would apply particularly where the offender was also very young, but they also leave it open to judges to give the benefit when sentencing adult paedophiles.

source: Article < Paedophiles could get lighter sentences if victim 'gives consent' > by Matthew Hickley; www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=451851&in_page_id=1770; Daily Mail; 1 May 2007