Excuses

Briar Dravitski defends her actions in having sex with a 13 year old by claiming he came on to her when she was drunk and he wasn’t her first.

I am trying to imagine the odium a 23 year old man would attract for claiming the 13 year old girl he slept with was “experienced” and basically took advantage of him.

She also claims she thought that the 13 year old (four days earlier he was still 12) was 17.

The Crimes Act actually has some pretty sensible provisions for dealing with mistaken ages. It used to say if you were aged up to 21 then you could use as a defence you thought they were over 16.

The recent changes still allow a defence of assumed age and indeed allow it for someone of any age but it makes it tougher. Section 134A of the Crimes Act requires you to have taken reasonable steps to find out whether the young person concerned was of or over the age of 16 years.

I don’t think we have any case law yet on what will be deemed reasonable steps but at a minimum it would require actually asking them their age. If you met them on licensed premises that could be deemed a reasonable belief but the Act suggests some sort of active rather than passive action to check age so probably not.

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