Family Law Titles
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‘it is difficult to think of an activity which is more person and situation specific than sexual relations. One does not consent to sex in general. One consents to this act of sex with this person at this time and place.'The complainant in this case, a woman with a low IQ and a schizo-affective disorder, had left a community mental health centre in a state of distress. She met the defendant who, offering to help her, took her to a friend's house, gave her crack cocaine and asked her to engage in sexual activity. It was not disputed that the woman understood the general nature of sexual intercourse. Her case, however, was that she was suffering a relapse in her mental disorder which led her to believe that if she did not submit to the defendant she would die. The House of Lords held that consent based on this irrational fear was not a capacitous decision, and restored the conviction.
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