Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED August 18, 2003

Where the appellant had convinced the complainant that she was going to be raped and had overcome her resistance, there was ample evidence to justify the conclusion that he had taken steps beyond the merely preparatory stage and was guilty of attempted rape.Appeal against conviction, with leave of the single judge, on 2 October 2002 at the Central Criminal Court of attempted rape for which the appellant ('D') was sentenced to an extended sentence of eight years' imprisonment. The complainant ('C') gave evidence as follows: (i) she had a conversation with D while waiting at a bus stop; (ii) when C moved away from D, he went towards her and put his arms around her; (iii) when C walked away, D followed her and told her he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her; (iv) D told C that it was dark and that no one would hear if he took her into a dark road; (v) D said that he would rape C; (vi) C ran away screaming, but D ran after her and pulled her backwards by her hair, held her in an arm lock and covered her mouth; (vii) D then dragged C to another bus stop; (viii) C thought that rape was inevitable and said that D could do what he liked as long as he did not hurt her; and (ix) a police car arrived, and D stepped out into the road. At the end of the prosecution case, the judge had rejected D's submission that the evidence could not amount to attempted rape, and the issue of whether the evidence was capable of doing so was left to the jury. On appeal, D submitted that his acts had not gone beyond being merely preparatory as C's clothing had not been disarranged, D had never touched C in a sexual way, and when the police car arrived D had stepped into the road thinking that it was a taxi and seeking to distance himself from the situation. There was no criticism of the judge's direction on attempt.HELD: (1) The most important aspect was that by the end of the incident C was convinced that she was going to be raped. (2) The evidence was amply sufficient to justify the conclusion that D had gone beyond the merely preparatory stage. In what he did, D had virtually succeeded, and had overcome C's resistance. The arrival of the police car prevented the ultimate offence from taking place. (3) The jury's verdict was safe.Appeal dismissed.

[2003] EWCA Crim 2441