Crimes Act 1900 Section 79 provides that any person who commits an act of bestiality with any animal shall be liable to 14 years imprisonment.
In Section 80 of the same law, it is provided that any person who attempts to commit an act of bestiality with any animal shall be liable for imprisonment for five years.
The offence of bestiality
The case of R v Bourne (1952) 36 Cr App R 125 provides that penetration is not required for the offence it being sufficient that there is behaviour that can be defined as sexual intercourse. This case law is in line with Section 80 which provides for a penalty if the act of bestiality in the attempted stage, thus, no penetration has been committed.
Crimes Act does not provide a definition for the crime of bestiality but according to R v Brown (1889) 24 QBD 357, bestiality is any form of sexual intercourse with an animal.
Sexual intercourse includes oral sex and penetration of the vagina or anus using a body part or an object.
The case of R v Pack (1932) VLR 225 establishes that both men and women can commit an act of bestiality.
The penalty for an act of bestiality
Under Section 79 the penalty is 14 years imprisonment. However, if the bestiality is only attempted the penalty is 5 years imprisonment under Section 80. These penalties are the maximum penalties which will be meted out if the circumstances of the case are serious or extreme.
A charge for bestiality or attempted bestiality is finalized in the District or Supreme Court.
The prosecution and the police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the act of sexual intercourse or sexual penetration to attain a conviction under Section 79. So the prosecution must prove the act of sexual intercourse or penetration.
As for a case under Section 80, proof beyond a reasonable doubt must be presented that the accused engaged in behaviour that showed there was an attempt to have sexual intercourse or penetration with an animal.
Defence against a charge of bestiality
An accused may take the defence of denial of sexual intercourse with the animal or committing any behaviour that could be interpreted as an attempt to have sexual intercourse with an animal.
Another common defence against bestiality is mental instability due to psychological problems suffered by an accused. This particular defence may be proven by testimonies from experts like psychiatrists and psychologists as well as medical records and psychological test results.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.