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Sexual Offences

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 updated the law, much of which dated back to 1956.

The main provisions of the Act include the following:

  • Rape is widened to include oral penetration
  • Significant changes to the issue of consent
  • Specific offences relating to children under 13, 16 and 18
  • Offences to protect vulnerable persons with a mental disorder
  • Other miscellaneous offences
  • Strengthening the notification requirements and providing new civil preventative orders

Find out more about how we prosecute sexual offences

Custodial sentence for rapist who attacked girl at her 18th birthday party


A man has been given an eight year custodial sentence for raping a girl on the night of her 18th birthday party.

James Leppard (19) was convicted of rape following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court, while Tommy Conway (19) was found guilty of sexual assault.

During the trial, the victim was described as not really knowing what was happening or what she was doing due to the amount of alcohol she had drunk. Her friend saw the victim being raped and recorded it on her mobile phone.

Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South East Kris Venkatasami said: "The evidence in this case clearly showed the victim was effectively unconscious through the effects of alcohol when the attack took place. She had no recollection of what had happened to her until her friend told her and played her the video she had taken, which must have been deeply traumatic.

"The victim was clearly in no state to either consent to or refuse sex. That is exactly what the CPS' #ConsentIs campaign aimed to highlight when we launched it last year.

"Someone consents only if they agree by choice and have the freedom and capacity to make that choice. In this case, the victim clearly did not have the capacity to consent, and this was clear to the defendants."

More information about the #ConsentIs campaign is available on the CPS website.


Notes to Editors

  1. Leppard was given a sentence of detention at a young offenders' institution and Conway was ordered to serve two years and five months at a young offenders' institution. Both have to sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years.
  2. Defendants can be given sentences of detention at a young offenders' institution up to the age of 21.
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