R v Ali [2015] EWCA Crim 1279

Key point

  • Where a vulnerable and immature individual is groomed, there may be no true consent to sexual activity, whether there is consent is for the jury to decide


  • Ds were charged with rape for grooming young girls from troubled backgrounds for sexual purposes
  • The prosecution argued that after grooming, the girls became sexually compliant and any consent was not genuine
  • Ds appealed on the basis that the jury was wrongly directed to consider whether the girls had truly consented

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • Appeal dismissed – Ds were rightly convicted

Fulford LJ

  • When vulnerable people are groomed for sexual exploitation, compliance can mask the lack of true consent on the part of the victim: [57]
  • Although grooming does not necessarily vitiate consent, it starkly raises the possibility that a vulnerable or immature individual was led to acquiesce rather than consent
  • Grooming has the tendency to limit or subvert the free will of the victim by creating an environment of dependency: [58]