R v MB [2018] NZYC 562

Published 16 May 2019

Sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection — proof beyond reasonable doubt — consent — Christian v R [2017] NZSC 145. The young person, MB, faced a representative charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. It was alleged she had forced a young boy to perform oral sex on her numerous times. The complainant was temporarily being cared for by MB's mother. In order for MB to be found guilty of the charge the Crown needed to prove that the alleged offending occurred on at least one occasion, the complainant did not consent and that MB did not believe on reasonable grounds the complainant consented. It was noted that the starting point was a presumption that the young person was innocent and the burden was on the Crown to prove all three aspects of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The complainant had given a detailed interview about the offending a few months after he had left the care of MB's mother. However, at the hearing the complainant gave conflicting and unlikely evidence. The Judge said based on the evidence it was more likely than not that offending had occurred on at least one occasion, but there was not sufficient evidence to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. The charge was dismissed. Both MB and the complainant were urged to seek therapeutic help. Judgment Date: 18 October 2018. * * * Note: Names have been changed to comply with legal requirements * * *