R v Collins (Court of Appeal)
With legal aid for criminal matters all but disappearing for many people, we thought we would look at a legendary and bizarre criminal case from an era when legal aid was readily available for everyone!
This is perhaps one of the most interesting legal cases of all time and is certainly the one case every law student will remember from their criminal law lectures. The facts are what make this particular case remarkable and could not be made up, even by one of the most inventive minds!
Mr Collins, an opportunist drunk seeking sexual intercourse, happened upon an open first-floor window which belonged to an 18 year old female whom Mr Collins knew but was not physically involved with. Mr Collins chanced his luck and located a step ladder, placed it against the window and climbed up to peek on the naked, sleeping female. He climbed back down the ladder and removed all his clothes (but his socks, so some commentators say)! Mr Collins then ascended the ladder and as he reached the top, and before he entered the open window, the naked female, thinking it was her boyfriend paying her a romantic visit, beckoned him in and pulled him on to the bed where they engaged in sexual intercourse. It was only after her sexual activity with Mr Collins that she realised that he was not her boyfriend.
Initially, Mr Collins was found guilty of rape and sentenced to 21 months in prison. Mr Collins appealed his conviction and the whole case proceeded to turn on whether or not he had placed any part of his body through the window before he was beckoned in by the female, which, it is said, would have shown the requisite intention to commit rape. The Court of Appeal found that Mr Collins had not forced entry to the bedroom and he was acquitted.
Mr Collins’ case of ‘I thought I’d just got lucky’ was upheld and has become one of the most fascinating and debated criminal cases of all time!
All information is correct on the date of posting.