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Is Ireland correct to declare war on boys who have consensual sex with their girlfriends?

(475 Posts)
femtastic Fri 15-Apr-11 14:33:06

Personally, I find this law to be absolutely abhorrent, and I hope it is repealed.

Court hears 'Romeo and Juliet' laws appea

THE Supreme Court has been urged to overturn as unconstitutional the so-called "Romeo and Juliet" laws which allow the prosecution of teenage boys for having sex with teenage girls but prevent prosecution of the girls.

The court is hearing an appeal arising from a 15-year-old boy being charged under the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006 with having sex with a 14-year-old girl in the Donegal Gaeltacht.

The boy is also charged with buggery and his trial is on hold pending the outcome of the appeal, which opened yesterday and will resume on a future date.

Section 3 of the 2006 act created an offence of defilement of a child under 17 and provided for a sentence of up to five years' imprisonment. Section 5 of the act stated a girl under 17 cannot be guilty of such an offence.

In the High Court in March 2010, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne ruled, while the law did amount to gender discrimination, that discrimination was not invidious, capricious or disproportionate.

As the risk of pregnancy as a result of underage sex was borne by girls only, not boys, society was entitled to deter such activity and to place the burden of criminal sanction on those "who bear the least adverse consequences" of it, she said.

Outlining the boy's appeal against that decision, John O'Kelly SC said the kernel of the appeal was that both parties involved in this sexual act were children in law aged under 17, with only about a year between the two of them.

The boy's case was they engaged consensually in an act of sexual intercourse but under the act, one of them was liable to be convicted and possibly jailed for up to five years while the other was guilty of no criminal offence at all.

Mr Justice Nial Fennelly noted the 2006 act is neutral as to whether the act of sexual intercourse is consensual or not and the court was not getting involved in that issue in the appeal.

John Finlay SC, for the state, opposed the appeal and argued the High Court decision should stand. The disputed provision was a proportionate measure on grounds of pregnancy, he submitted.

cornsilkily Fri 15-Apr-11 14:34:30

Is the age of consent 17 in Ireland then?

Maryz Fri 15-Apr-11 17:48:43

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dittany Fri 15-Apr-11 17:55:57

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sethstarkaddersmackerel Fri 15-Apr-11 17:57:21

is this the third controversial thread that new poster Femtastic has started and run?

Maryz Fri 15-Apr-11 17:59:49

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dittany Fri 15-Apr-11 18:01:20

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Maryz Fri 15-Apr-11 18:05:11

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LittleWhiteWolf Fri 15-Apr-11 18:11:44

I agree with Maryz.

dittany Fri 15-Apr-11 18:13:15

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Reality Fri 15-Apr-11 18:17:07

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laInfanta Fri 15-Apr-11 18:17:31

But is it really any different if a girl is 17 rather than 16? The latter is illegal, the former isn't but the consequences are still the same (i.e. potential pregnancy and no abortion in Ireland).

cornsilkily Fri 15-Apr-11 18:17:51

I agree with mary Z as well.

Maryz Fri 15-Apr-11 18:21:11

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Maryz Fri 15-Apr-11 18:22:31

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dittany Fri 15-Apr-11 18:26:18

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dittany Fri 15-Apr-11 18:27:46

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Maryz Fri 15-Apr-11 18:31:05

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dittany Fri 15-Apr-11 18:34:59

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dittany Fri 15-Apr-11 18:35:36

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MillyR Fri 15-Apr-11 18:37:21

I don't agree with many issues around age of consent. A few countries have a more flexible situation with age of consent, where a person cannot consent under (17 say) to have sex, but where there is an age gap of a few years - a 15 year old and an 18 year old, for example, then the 15 year old can consent.

This seems to me to be more sensible. It protects teens from predatory adults, but allows them sexual freedom with each other.

BooBooGlass Fri 15-Apr-11 18:37:26

But what of constent dittany? These girls are giving consent. The risk of pregnancy, legally, isn't somehting which one can prosecute for surely? Allsorts of risky things are done everyday. You can't prosecute 'just in case'

dittany Fri 15-Apr-11 18:41:16

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Maryz Fri 15-Apr-11 18:42:40

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BooBooGlass Fri 15-Apr-11 18:44:22

Of course it's not. It's perfectly capable to have a loving, sexual relationship as a 17 year old. WHy does that have to involve a female in a submissive role? It doesn't.

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