Before you pinch that person's bottom

Today's call – with the usual caveat that I've only heard one side of the story…

He's out somewhere, a bit drunk, and pinches a woman's bum. Enough of a fuss is created for him to be arrested and held overnight.

In the morning, he's offered a caution for sexual assault, section three of the Sexual Offenders Act 2003:

(1) A person (A) commits an offence if-

(a) he intentionally touches another person (B),
(b) the touching is sexual,
(c) B does not consent to the touching, and
(d) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

The consequences of this – that it's an admission of guilt, and it's an offence that gets you on the sex offenders register – are explained to him, but he accepts it because he wants to go home and doesn't want to end up in court.

Now he's going 'oops', but it's a bit late for that.

While part of me goes 'yeah, that's what should happen if you grope someone without their consent', I am a bit sorry for him – she made it clear that she didn't regard it as serious, so if he had declined the caution, the Crown Prosecution Service would probably have dropped the case rather than take it to the Magistrates Court.

I'm also a bit surprised that it'd be treated as a sexual assault – do you, 'reasonable person', think pinching someone's bum is 'sexual'? – but maybe I'm not being told everything.

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