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Explanatory Memorandum to Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008

Preparatory offences
Article 65: Administering a substance with intent

7.130.Article 65 makes it an offence for a person (A) intentionally to administer a substance or to cause any substance to be taken by another person (B) where A knows that B does not consent to taking that substance and where A intends to stupefy or overpower B so that any person can engage in sexual activity involving B.

7.131.The offence is intended to cover use of so-called "date rape drugs" administered without the victim's knowledge or consent, but would also cover the use of any other substance with the relevant intention. It would cover A 'spiking' B's drinks with alcohol where B did not know he was consuming alcohol, but it would not cover A encouraging B to get drunk so that A could have sex with B, where B knew that he was consuming alcohol.

7.132.The substance may be administered to B in any way, for example, in a drink (as in the example given above), by injection or by covering B's face with a cloth impregnated with the substance.

7.133.The offence applies both where A himself administers the substance to B, and where A causes the substance to be taken by B, for example where A persuades a friend (C) to administer a substance to B, so that A can have sex with B, because C knows B socially and can more easily slip the substance into B's drink than A can.

7.134.However, the intended sexual activity need not involve A. In the example given above it could be intended that C or any other person would have sex with B.

7.135.The term "sexual", used in this Article in the phrase "sexual activity", is defined in Article 4. The sexual activity in this offence could involve A having sexual intercourse with or masturbating B; could involve A causing B to commit a sexual act upon himself (for example, masturbation); or could involve B and a third party engaging in sexual activity together, regardless of whether the third party had administered the substance.

7.136.The offence would be made out where A administers the substance or causes B to take it (with the relevant intent) regardless of whether any sexual activity took place, for example because a friend of B saw what was happening and intervened to protect B.

Article 66: Committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence

7.137.Article 66 makes it an offence for a person (A) intentionally to commit any criminal offence with intent to commit any relevant sexual offence as defined in paragraph (2). This offence is intended to capture the situation where A commits a criminal offence but does so with the intention of committing a subsequent sexual offence, regardless of whether or not the substantive sexual offence is committed. It would apply, for example, where A kidnaps B so that he can rape him but is caught by the police before committing the rape. It would also apply where A detained B in his flat with this intention, or assaulted B to subdue him so that he could more easily rape him. If A does commit the intended offence, he could be charged with the substantive sexual offence in addition to this offence. The offence has a maximum life sentence for circumstances where there is an assault with the intent to commit rape or sexual assault by penetration.

Article 67: Trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence

7.138.Article 67 makes it an offence for A to intend to commit a "relevant sexual offence" (defined at paragraph (2) of Article 66) whilst he is on any premises where he is a trespasser, either knowing, or being reckless as to whether, he is trespassing. A person is a trespasser if he is on any premises without the owner's or occupier's consent, or other lawful excuse. This offence is intended to capture, for example, the situation where a person (A) enters a building owned by B, or goes into B's garden or garage without B's consent, and he intends to commit a sexual offence against the occupier. The offence applies regardless of whether or not the substantive sexual offence is committed. A will commit the offence if he has the intent to commit a relevant sexual offence at any time while he is a trespasser. The intent is likely to be inferred from what the defendant says or does to the intended victim (if there is one) or from items in possession of the defendant at the time he commits the trespass (for example, condoms, pornographic images, rope etc.). A separate offence is needed to cover trespass (as opposed to relying on Article 66) because trespass is a civil tort and not a criminal offence. The offence has a maximum sentence of 14 years for circumstances where there is an intent to commit rape or sexual assault by penetration.

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