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III. Genuine belief in consent

As rape is sexual intercourse without consent, a man who has a genuine belief that the woman was consenting cannot be convicted of rape even where she did not in fact consent. The genuine belief in consent means that the man did not intend to have sexual intercourse without consent. Similarly a genuine belief in consent means that he was not pressing ahead regardless of whether she consented or not. The question for the jury is whether or not there was a reasonable doubt that the defendant subjectively believed there was consent. If he had that belief he must be acquitted even if the jury finds that, objectively, the belief was unreasonable. Realistically however, the more objectively unreasonable the claimed belief is, the less likely the jury will find there was a genuine belief, but the question for the jury is whether the belief was held.

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