R v Bingham [2013] EWCA Crim 823, [2013] 2 Cr. App. R. 29

Key points

  • A strict interpretation of s76 Sexual Offences Act 2003 must be adopted pursuant to Jheeta
  • Deception as to peripheral matters, such as identity and consequences of non-compliance, must be distinguished from deception as to purpose

Facts

  • D, pretending to be other men, threatened his girlfriend, V, that he would email photographs of her to her employers if she did not perform sexual acts on webcam
  • D was charged with causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent

Issue

  • Did the conclusive presumption under s76 Sexual offences Act 2003 apply?

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • Appeal allowed – the conclusive presumption in s76 did not apply

Hallett LJ

  • The definition of purpose under s76 should not be defined too widely, s76 must be strictly construed as it effectively removes the only line of defence to a criminal charge
  • ‘If there is any conflict between the decisions in Jheeta and Devonald, we would unhesitatingly follow Jheeta’: [20]
  • D’s purpose had been sexual gratification and V was aware of that: [22]
  • Deception to a ‘peripheral matter’ will not amount to deception of purpose under s76: [23]
  • However, the prosecution has a strong case that there was no consent under s74 if they can prove that V only complied as she was blackmailed: [24]