WITH reference to a recent South Wales Argus article highlighting a case involving the rape of a ten-year-old girl (Two boys convicted of raping girl of 10, Argus, July 15), it may help your readers to understand the legal considerations involved in bringing a case like this to court.
The CPS has a duty to ensure that all cases referred to us by the police are considered for prosecution in a fair and consistent manner, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. Rape is an extremely serious offence and cases involving children and young people (as victims or perpetrators) are especially sensitive.
With that in mind, we have a team of specialist-trained prosecutors in place to offer legal advice and guidance on serious sexual offence cases throughout Wales. This particular case was prosecuted under Section 5 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. This piece of legislation defines the offence of rape, as committed against a child under the age of 13.
The law clearly states that a child under 13 does not, under any circumstances, have the legal capacity to consent to any form of sexual activity. This is an extremely important legal principle intended to offer protection to the most vulnerable of victims.
We only bring cases to court where there is sufficient evidence to support criminal charges and where the public interest is served by a prosecution. In this case, a Crown Court trial took place and a jury heard all the evidence available, from both the prosecution and defence teams.
They concluded that both defendants were guilty of rape. In court, the victim’s mother was praised for bringing the matter to the attention of the police. Regardless of the outcome in court, there are no winners in a case such as this.
The victim and her family continue to deal with the effects of what happened and our thoughts are with them.
Iwan Jenkins, Head of Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit, Crown Prosecution Service Wales