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stuckupmyownera
01-19-2009, 03:17 PM
A character in my latest is going to be arrested and charged with rape. I don't know much about legal stuff, and so far I'm having trouble finding out what would happen, so I wonder if anyone can help me with the following...

1) When the police knock on his door and arrest him, what would they say? Would they call it rape, or sexual assault? Would it be 'on suspicion of'?

2) Would a suspected rapist get bail? If not, where would he be held? Local police station or somewhere... bigger?

3) How long before his trial, roughly?

And here's the biggie:

4) What is the absolute minimum sentence he could get? He is pleading guilty, and showing great remorse. He is clinically depressed following the death of his wife and a borderline alcoholic, and the victim seriously provoked him. (No no, I'm not making excuses for rapists, but these are factors which I wondered might make a difference. My character is not really a villain, just someone in the wrong mood in the wrong place at the wrong time who should have got counselling a long time ago. And I need him to get off lightly. :) At the same time, the story does not make light of what he did.)

Thank you for your input.

Mr Flibble
01-19-2009, 04:55 PM
1) When the police knock on his door and arrest him, what would they say? Would they call it rape, or sexual assault? Would it be 'on suspicion of'?

On suspicion of rape.


2) Would a suspected rapist get bail? If not, where would he be held? Local police station or somewhere... bigger? Depends greatly on circumstances. If it was say date rape and the ins and outs are not clear ( ie whther it was truely consensual) the victim had minimum wounds and / or the pffender had no priors then they may well get bail. If he doesn't getbail he'll be remanded and sit in prison till the trial. Even if he is remanded hge may ( depending on circs) get a tag.


3) How long before his trial, roughly? How long is a piece of string? Depends on evidence gathering, DNA / forensic waiting times etc. A year would be about average at a guess.


And here's the biggie:

4) What is the absolute minimum sentence he could get? He is pleading guilty, and showing great remorse. He is clinically depressed following the death of his wife and a borderline alcoholic, and the victim seriously provoked him.


The basic starting point for a rape committed by an adult offender, with no aggravating or mitigating factors and after a contested trial, is 5 years.

OK, this is what they looka t when assessing sentencing:


The Panel suggests that there are, broadly, three dimensions to consider in
assessing the gravity of an individual offence of rape. The first is the degree of harm to the
victim; the second is the level of culpability of the offender; and the third is the level of risk
posed by the offender to society.


Death of wife and alcoholism would make no difference. And I'm not entirely sure how you provoke someone into rape. In fact I don't think you can ( in legal terms anyway).


The Billam guidelines establish four starting points for a rape committed by an adult, after a contested trial:
5 years’ imprisonment for an offence with no aggravating or mitigating features;
8 years’ imprisonment, for cases where certain specified aggravating features are
present;
15 years plus for a defendant who has carried out a campaign of rape;
life imprisonment, which is said to be ‘not inappropriate’ where the offender’s
behaviour ‘has manifested perverted or psychopathic tendencies or gross
personality disorder, and where he is likely, if at large, to remain a danger to
women for an indefinite time’.

Now that is for a contested trial. If he pleads guilty:


40. The first of the mitigating factors mentioned in Billam, a plea of guilty, is a
statutory mitigating factor under section 152 of the Powers of Criminal Courts
(Sentencing) Act 2000, and attracts a sentencing discount of about one third.


So you're looking at 3 1/2 years minimum.


Hope that helps. But I think you might have difficulty keeping sympathy with a character who rapes. Just because he was in a bad mood does not make him 'not a bad guy' for raping someone. Just saying.

stuckupmyownera
01-19-2009, 05:57 PM
So you're looking at 3 1/2 years minimum.


Hope that helps. But I think you might have difficulty keeping sympathy with a character who rapes. Just because he was in a bad mood does not make him 'not a bad guy' for raping someone. Just saying.

Thanks IdiotsRUs.

Could 'good behaviour' and progress in counselling reduce this further?

And yes, I realise he's never going to be a very sympathetic character - he's not supposed to be. But he's not pure evil either.

Mr Flibble
01-19-2009, 06:06 PM
Hmm yes if he's a good boy in prison he might get a reduction, not sure on the amount though. I think it's up to a third ( though they may be altering that. Might be worth asking you local police?) Some sources I'm seeing say remission is no longer done, but people are released on license instead.



The counselling may or may not mean he gets early release; depends on the parole board. As I say though, you might be best off talking to your local police. Mine are ever so friendly - and like the odd questions I ask them :D

PS - I did find this ( not sure on accuracy though)


If you are refering to remission for good behaviour then:

1. Release was not on licence. If you got your 1/3 remission for good
behaviour, you were out for good.

2. It was abolished by the Tories in the 1990's. One way out now is parole,
but it is not automatic. It is only available if you pleaded guilty or
subsequently admit guilt and the board can be convinced that you are
unlikely to reoffend. Though not tagged, you do have to make regular visits
to a probation officer who can revoke the licence if the terms are breached

3. You can also be released under tagging, but again it is not automatic.
This is equivalent to being imprisoned in your own home between certain
times.

also:


For any sentence except life, release on licence is
automatic after half the sentence has been served for sentences less
than 4 years, and after 2/3 have been served for sentences of 4 years
or longer. Nobody has to authorise such release, nor does it depend
upon admission of guilt, not presenting a danger or good behaviour.
It is automatic. There are however variable conditions imposed on the
offender for the remainder of the sentence, and if any are broken the
offender may be recalled to prison.
Which would mean counselling and good behaviour taken into account at your parole hearing.