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2. If the girl is not under the control of her parents or guardian at the time the offence is committed, will I still be liable?

This will depend upon the particular case. There must be substantial interference with the possession of a parent or guardian over his or her child. Whether a girl is in the possession of her parent or guardian is a question of fact. A girl could still be in the possession of her parent or guardian while she is away from home if she intends to return. For example, where a girl is walking in the streets and she is forced onto a car and taken away, this will amount to a substantial interference with the possession of the parent. That conduct could also amount to the common law offences of false imprisonment or kidnapping: taking a person from the place where they are by force and against their will. Kidnapping is punishable by a maximum of 7 years’ imprisonment. If there is doubt about whether the girl was in the possession of her parents and the removal is by force and without her consent, false imprisonment or kidnapping would more likely be charged.

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