Men face jail for rape if women are 'too drunk' to consent in bed to boost convictions
Men who have sex with drunk women could face a rape charge
Men who have sex with drunken women will be at risk of being convicted of rape under new laws to be considered by ministers.
The legal shake-up would mean a woman would be considered incapable of giving consent to sex if she had been drinking heavily.
Police would be asked to carry out blood and urine tests on a woman who complained of rape to find out how much alcohol is in her body. They would then used "back calculations" to work out how drunk she was at the time of the alleged attack.
A "drink and sex limit" would sweep away the confusion and controversy in the courts surrounding the issue of when a man accused of rape can claim he believed a woman gave her consent to sex.
But it would open the way to prosecutions of husbands or regular boyfriends who have sex with drunken wives or partners as well as fierce arguments over medical evidence and real levels of intoxication of alleged victims.
A consultation document is to be published by the Home Office in the New Year that will lay down the basis for new laws and try to meet Labour's aim of forcing up numbers of rape convictions. At present only one rape accusation in 20 ends in a conviction and ministers are convinced that means rapists are getting away with it.
Almost all disputed rape cases are of "partner", "acquaintance" or "date" rape in which both parties were known to each other before the alleged attack happened.
A rape law making it an offence to have sex with a woman who has reached a set level of drunkeness is to be proposed by the Home Office committee that four years ago recommended the disastrous reclassification of cannabis that made possessing the drug less of a crime.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is to report next month suggesting the use of medical tests and back calculation.
A study carried out last month for the Association of Chief Police Officers suggested that a women could be expected to show 'marked intoxication levels' after drinking the equivalent of two bottles of wine.
It found that in 120 cases of sexual assault examined by researchers, in 119 cases the woman had been drinking.
But because of "marked time delays between the collection of samples and the incident", alcohol could be detected by tests in only 62, just over half, of the cases. Blood tests can find alcohol in the body 24 hours after drinking and urine tests after 72 hours.
The ACPO research found that in 31 cases alcohol levels at the time of the incident could be estimated by "back-calculating".
It said it was "significant" that 22 cases showed the woman had 200 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood.
This level is equivalent to eight 175 milliletre pub "standard" glasses of wine, or two and a half times the drink driving limit.
But the ACPO report warned that there are "caveats about the approximate nature of the calculations".
Back calculations usually work on the basis that the body breaks down one unit of alcohol - half a pub standard glass of wine - every hour. However, alcohol breaks up in different bodies at different rates.
The ACPO report said: "If one considers a social drinker, one could expect marked intoxication at levels of 200 milligrams per 100 millilitres and symptoms could include reduced inhibitions, disorientation, impaired judgement and co-ordination, drowsiness, memory loss and, at higher levels, unconsciousness."
The law already suggests that a woman who is asleep or unconscious is less likely to have consented to sex. Since 2003, a man accused of rape has had to show he had "reasonable" grounds for believing a woman consented. Before then, he had only to demonstrate that he believed she had consented.
Solicitor General Mike O'Brien is considering the drink and sex limit among proposals for new rules that could also include fresh guidance for juries on matters of consent and the right for defendants to call experts on rape who would explain to juries how damaging to a victim the offence is.
A Home Office spokesman confirmed yesterday that the Advisory Council has produced a report and added: "The results will be published in the New Year. It will then be for ministers to decide what may be the right policies to take forward."
But criminologist Dr David Green of the Civitas think tank said: "They are trying to introduce scientific certainties where there are no scientific certainties. The pretence that there can be certainty is likely to lead to miscarriages of justice.
"It is much better to leave these things to the good sense of juries to decide." The legal pitfalls around rape and alcohol were powerfully illustrated in a landmark case last year in which a security guard had sex with the 21-year- old woman student while she was lying drunk and unconscious in a corridor outside her flat in a university hall of residence.
Even though the security guard, 20-year-old Ryairi Dougal, was a stranger to the woman, a judge at Swansea Crown Court instructed the jury to bring in a not guilty verdict because she could not remember whether she had given consent.
"Drunken consent is still consent," Mr Justice Roderick Evans told the jury.
Case study: Ryairi Dougal was cleared of rape in a landmark case last year because his alleged victim was too drunk to recall events.
The security guard had sex with the student while she was lying drunk and unconscious in a corridor outside her flat in Aberystwyth University.
The case hinged on whether the 21-year-old he was accused of assaulting had consented to sex.
Swansea Crown Court was told by the woman there was "no way" she would have agreed, but when questioned by the defence, she acknowledged she could not remember anything and therefore could not definitively say if she had consented or not.
Even though 20-year-old Mr Dougal was a stranger to the woman, the judge told the jury to bring in a not guilty verdict because she could not remember whether she had given consent.
I saw this today and, needless to say, was disgusted. It's not that the concept is new....feminists have pushing it for some time, it's just scary to see it passing beyond the realm of radical feminism into possible legislation. It's yet another attempt to relieve women of accountability for their actions. As I stated previously in an online discussion, if a woman isn't responsible for any of her sexual decisions or actions while drunk, then why is a man? If we follow that line of "logic", a man shouldn't be guilty of committing rape if he can prove he was inebriated at the time it occurred. If they pass this travesty, what's going to come next? Mark my words, it'll only be a matter of time before we see them trying to pass through lesgislation that a woman isn't capable of giving consent if she has P.M.S. because of the hormonal effects on her body, or that a man should have been able to read her body language and discern if her "yes" really meant "no". If you give consent, you give consent. Unless you've got a knife to your throat or a gun to your head at the time, you gave your consent and are therefore accountable for that decision. For me, much of the current problems with the behavior of women are quite simply explained. If you take away all acountability from a person and allow them not to bear the responsibility for their actions or decisions, what do you end up? Go to any club or bar in the west and you'll find your answer...p.s. they'll be the ones in heels.