Regina v. Tyrell

The Facts

16 year old defendant was convicted of aiding and abetting Thomas Froud to have sex with her.

Procedural History

Defendant’s appeal granted

The Issue

Whether “it is an offence for a girl between thirteen and sixteen years of age, to aid and abet a male person in the commission of the misdemeanor of having unlawful carnal connection with her, and to solicit and incite a male person to commit that misdemeanor.”

D’s argument:  The purpose of the statute was to ensure that it would be impossible that a court even consider that an immature girl consented to the act of rape or sex.  To interpret the statute such that the immature girl can solicit sex is to disincentivize parents or girls from reporting instances of rape or underage sex, which detracts from the purpose of the statute.

P’s argument:  There is nothing in the act to prevent her conviction.  The jury found upon clear evidence that she was guilty and should not be overridden.

Relevant Statute

“A person who unlawfully and carnally knows, or attempts to have unlawful carnal knowledge of any girl being of or above the age of thirteen years, and under the age of sixteen years… shall be guilty of misdemeanor.”

Court’s Reasoning and Rule

The conviction must be quashed.  The age of consent, in constructing the relevant statute, was clearly set at sixteen.  The intent of the legislation was not to protect immature females below this age against themselves.  The legislature’s clear intent of the statute was not hold the victim liable, but instead to hold the older party liable.

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