(103)  Rape and the use of force

Controversy surrounded the trial of Edward Watt on a charge of rape in the High Court of Justiciary at Aberdeen (reported in The Scotsman, 24 March 2001). The prosecution had alleged that the complainer was unwilling to have intercourse. However, a motion of no case to answer was granted because there was insufficient evidence that her will had been forcefully overcome. Lord Abernethy ruled that the charge of rape required evidence of force or the threat of force: “to have sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent in itself is not rape”.  For further discussion of the role of force in the actus reus of rape, see V Tadros, “No consent: a historical critique of the actus reus of rape” (1999) 3 EdinLR 317.