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DPP v Morgan [1976] AC 182 House of Lords

The three appellants were convicted of rape following a violent attack. They had been out drinking for the night with a fellow officer in the RAF who invited them back to his house to have sexual intercourse with his wife while he watched. According to the appellants, he had told them that his wife would be consenting, although she would protest in order to enhance her sexual arousal. The circumstances were such that the wife had made it quite clear she was not consenting and she sustained physical injuries requiring hospital treatment. The trial judge had directed the jury that the defendants' belief in consent had to be reasonably held. The jury found them guilty. They appealed contending there was no requirement that the belief need be reasonably held.


The belief must be genuine and honest. There was no requirement that the belief was reasonable. The convictions were upheld, however, as the House of Lords was of the opinion that no jury properly directed would have considered the belief of the defendants in the circumstances as genuine.
Back to lecture outline on the defence of mistake or consent in Criminal Law