Criminal Law (Rape) Act 1981

Restrictions on evidence at trials for rape offences.


3.F4[(1) If at a trial any person is for the time being charged with a sexual assault offence to which he pleads not guilty, then, except with the leave of the judge, no evidence shall be adduced and no question shall be asked in cross-examination at the trial, by or on behalf of any accused person at the trial, about any sexual experience (other than that to which the charge relates) of a complainant with any person; and in relation to a sexual assault tried summarily pursuant to section 12

(a) subsection (2) (a) shall have effect as if the words in the absence of the jury were omitted,

(b) subsection (2) (b) shall have effect as if for the references to the jury there were substituted references to the court, and

(c) this section (other than this paragraph) and subsections (3) and (4) of section 7 shall have effect as if for the references to the judge there were substituted references to the court.]

(2) (a) The judge shall not give leave in pursuance of subsection (1) for any evidence or question except on an application made to him, in the absence of the jury, by or on behalf of an accused person.

(b) The judge shall give leave if, and only if, he is satisfied that it would be unfair to the accused person to refuse to allow the evidence to be adduced or the question to be asked, that is to say, if he is satisfied that, on the assumption that if the evidence or question was not allowed the jury might reasonably be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused person is guilty, the effect of allowing the evidence or question might reasonably be that they would not be so satisfied.

(3) If, notwithstanding that the judge has given leave in accordance with this section for any evidence to be adduced or question to be asked in cross-examination, it appears to the judge that any question asked or proposed to be asked (whether in the course of so adducing evidence or of cross-examination) in reliance on the leave which he has given is not or may not be such as may properly be asked in accordance with that leave, he may direct that the question shall not be asked or, if asked, that it shall not be answered except in accordance with his leave given on a fresh application under this section.

(4) Nothing in this section authorises evidence to be adduced or a question to be asked which cannot be adduced or asked apart from this section.




Substituted (18.01.1991) by Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990 (32/1990), s. 13, commenced as per s. 22(3).

Modifications (not altering text):


Term "jury" construed (7.03.2007) by Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Act 2007 (6/2007), s. 3(2), commenced on enactment.

Application of certain enactments.

3. ...

(2) References in section 3 of the Act of 1981 to jury shall, in the case of summary proceedings for an offence under section 6 (inserted by section 2), be construed as references to court.