McNally: After the Sexual Offences Act 2003

  • Caroline DerryEmail author


This chapter considers the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in operation. It centres upon a prosecution founded on accusations of fraud: the 2013 appeal judgment in McNally. The defendant was convicted of sexual assault by penetration, on the basis that apparent consent was vitiated by fraud as to gender, and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. The Court of Appeal considered when and why apparent consent would be vitiated by deception: particularly significant as McNally is not an isolated case.

Before 2003, sexual offences law had been riddled with inequalities; this chapter problematises any assumption that the 2003 Act has finally resolved those issues. In particular, critics writing from feminist and trans perspectives have identified fundamental problems with the way in which sexual consent is understood. These debates are considered, with particular attention to the implications for (absence of) consent between women, and possible approaches to reform are explored.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Law SchoolThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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