R v Ciccarelli [2011]

R v Ciccarelli [2011] EWCA Crim 2665 established a crucial legal precedent concerning the admissibility of evidence of reasonable belief in consent under Section 75 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The court emphasised that such evidence must be realistic before the issue is presented to the jury for deliberation.

Ciccarelli, the defendant, and his girlfriend bringing a friend, the victim, back to their apartment after a party. During the night, Ciccarelli sexually assaulted the victim while she was asleep. In his defence, Ciccarelli claimed that he believed the victim would consent based on a single advance she had made towards him earlier. The trial judge, however, applied the evidential presumption in Section 75 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, deeming Ciccarelli's evidence insufficient to raise an issue about his reasonable belief in the victim's consent.

Ciccarelli appealed, contending that his evidence was adequate to warrant consideration by the jury. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, with Lord Judge CJ delivering the court's reasoning.

Lord Judge CJ emphasised that, before the issue of the appellant's reasonable belief in the complainant's consent could be presented to the jury, there needed to be some evidence beyond the fanciful or speculative supporting the reasonableness of Ciccarelli's belief. In this case, Ciccarelli and victim were effectively strangers, and Ciccarelli's belief was founded on a single advance made by the victim. The judge, therefore, was justified in concluding that there was insufficient evidence to raise an issue – in other words, the evidence was deemed incapable of supporting a reasonable belief in V's consent.

This case underscores the importance of realistic and substantive evidence when raising the issue of reasonable belief in consent under Section 75 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The court's ruling serves to maintain a threshold for admissibility, ensuring that only evidence with some basis in reality is presented to the jury for consideration.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.