What are the Rape Penalties in NSW?


It’s reported that in 2006 and 2013, in New York, former Hollywood film producer, Harvey Weinstein has allegedly raped and sexually assaulted two women.

Last week on Monday, Weinstein appeared in the New York State Supreme Court on his first day of trial for a charge of rape and sexual assault.

While he entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ to the criminal charges, he faces life imprisonment if found guilty of the count of predatory sexual assault.

The 67-year-old is alleged to have sexually assaulted a previous production assistant, Mimi Haleyi who has come forward with a claim that in 2006 she was sexually assaulted by the Oscar-winning film producer.

The prosecution also allege that he also raped another female in 2013. That woman has not yet been identified publicly.

In a turn of events, as the case commenced, a Los Angeles District Attorney, Jackie Lacey appeared and said that he is now also facing another set of rape charges in respect to two separate women in 2013.

In respect of the latest new charges, there were in fact 8 women who have claimed to have been assaulted by him. Three of those are barred from prosecution due to statute of limitation (out of time)- however, the prosecution are contemplating whether or not to proceed with charges in respect of the balance of the three allegations.

Lacey said, “We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit violent crimes against them. I want to commend the victims who have come forward an bravely recounted what happened to them. It is my hope that all victims of sexual violence find strength and healing as they move forward.”

The prosecution allege that Weinstein forced himself into a hotel room where one of the women was residing in before proceeding to rape her on 18 February 2013- representing one of the two new allegations.

In respect of the second new charge, he is accused of sexually assaulting another woman in her hotel room in Beverley Hills.

Weinstein has claimed that any sexual conduct that he’s been involved in has been consensual.

As a result of the enormous media attention, just the jury selection is likely to be a time-consuming process due to fears jurors may already have a view about him.

In fact, over eighty women have stepped up with similar claims against Weinstein representing decades of alleged abuse.

What are the Rape Penalties in NSW?

There is a maximum punishment of 14-years behind bars in NSW for committing the crime of sexual assault or rape, prescribed by section 61I Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

In NSW, this charge will commence in the Local Court, but eventually be finalised by way of either a sentence or trial in the District Court (unless it is withdrawn earlier through negotiations with the prosecution).

Because this charge will eventually need to be dealt with in this way only in the District Court (being a higher court than the Local Court), it is referred to as a strictly indictable charge.

While the maximum penalty for rape is 14-years jail, it also has a 7-year standard non-parole period (SNPP).

What does this mean? The 7 SNPP represents the minimum period of time required to be spent behind bars before eligibility for release on parole in the community if the particulars of the crime are considered to fall in the middle of the range of objective seriousness for such offences.

Importantly, the SNPP which applies to certain types of charges or offences is not imposed in every case, and used by courts as a sentencing guide only.

To be guilty of sexual intercourse without consent (rape), the police must prove each of the following elements beyond reasonable doubt in court:

  • The alleged offender has sexual intercourse with the complainant; and
  • The complainant didn’t consent to this; and
  • The alleged offender was aware that there was no consent.

Click here for an outline on the defences to rape allegations in NSW.

Want to find out more? Call us 24/7 to arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal lawyers located in Sydney CBD.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.


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