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Explanatory Memorandum to Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008

Article 7: Sexual assault

7.32.Article 7 makes it an offence for a person (A) intentionally to touch sexually another person (B) without that person's consent, if he does not reasonably believe that B consents. What is said in the note to Article 5 about whether a belief in consent is reasonable also applies here. The meaning of "touching" is explained at Article 2(11); "sexual" is defined at Article 4. The effect of these sections is that the offence covers a wide range of behaviour including, for example, rubbing up against someone's private parts through the person's clothes for sexual gratification. Paragraph (3) provides that Articles 9 and 10 apply to this offence. Articles 9 and 10 deal with evidential and conclusive presumptions about consent.

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