A Riddle For Our Times

Romeo and Juliet appeal refused.

Here’s a riddle for you, but be warned — it’s a tough one.

Two teenagers have sex: a girl of fourteen and a boy of fifteen.

The boy faces five years in jail while the girl was not charged with any offence.




Criminal Law Offences Act 2006

2.— (1) Any person who engages in a sexual act with a child who is under the age of 15 years shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life or a lesser term of imprisonment.

(2) Any person who attempts to engage in a sexual act with a child who is under the age of 15 years shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life or a lesser term of imprisonment.

3.— (1) Any person who engages in a sexual act with a child who is under the age of 17 years shall be guilty of an offence and shall, subject to subsection (3), be liable on conviction on indictment—

(a) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or

(b) if he or she is a person in authority, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.

5.— A female child under the age of 17 years shall not be guilty of an offence under this Act by reason only of her engaging in an act of sexual intercourse.


A boy faces 5 years in prison for having consensual sex with a girl his own age.  Meanwhile, how many priests have been jailed?

Challenge to Romeo & Juliet law rejected.

15 thoughts on “A Riddle For Our Times

  1. The question is why isn’t the rape crisis centre and all the various equality quangos out on the streets complaining about this abuse of teenage boys. If it was the other way around the government would fall.

  2. The answer is very simple and straight forward. People expect justice from the Justice system, they will not get it ,they get Law. The Law says Girls are innocent ( even if they indicate Sex would be a good idea) and Boys are rapists.

  3. Because we have a ridiculously out-dated law regarding this kind of thing.

    Apparently, the girl cannot be charged for her part in the act because she could get pregnant from having sex, therefore she bears the entire risk from the sex, and therefore she is granted immunity from prosecution.
    Whereas the boy gets all the fun and none of the risk, so he can go to hell for all the state cares.

    Now the State says the law specifically applies only to sexual intercourse – which it claims is the only area of sexual activity that can lead to pregnancy. I am not a lawyer,nor am I an expert on sex, but it sounds to me like the defence may have dropped the ball here – surely , and forgive me for being crude, but let’s say she just gave him “manual relief” and then didn’t wash her hands properly and later on played with herself – she could get pregnant. Would that not invalidate the law?
    Surely there must be some valid challenge to the law that was not pursued, maybe ECHR?

    I can understand a law that exists to protect, for example, a 12 year old being molested by a 15 year old. But unless he actually raped her, how did this even get as far as court?

  4. The girl is still discriminated, not favoured – because church and society still deem her incapacitated, unable to make her own decisions and like to keep it that way. In their opinion girls/women don’t have any sexuality, they are little madonnas everyone has to keep “pure” – except the priest of course… More important, they are the property of fathers, judges and every male wannabe authority or non-authority. Strip the girl of her own mind and her own desire for sex and keep her small and stupid. That’s how a paternalistic society likes it. The case has nothing to do with equality. Au contraire.
    It’s still a power thing isn’t it?

    I wasn’t aware that there is such a law that in above mentioned case the boy actually can face jail. At the age of 14, no, actually 13, I was eager to find out about sex, preferably with a boy my age, not with some old geezer. Sadly, I had to wait a couple of years…. Not because of my age, but because of lack of a suitable and willing boy.

  5. The man in this case is charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 15. GUBU

    The man, who is now 18, had claimed that the section 2006 law – that allows him to be prosecuted, while no charges can be brought against the girl – was old fashioned gender-based discrimination for which the State had no justification.

  6. Hey diddle diddle, the riddle is: What kind of retard is Ms Justice Dunne? Bock do us a favour would you and translate that BS.. ‘the immunity was only applied to the one area of sexual activity that can result in pregnancy, but girls and boys were equally liable to prosecution in respect of sexual activity, falling short of sexual intercourse and under the same act, a girl under 17 cannot be charged with the same offence.’
    So if I’m reading that right, for instance a girl of 16 could have sex with a boy of 14 resulting in him being charged and she’d have immunity because of her biological make up? (and this law dates from 2006?)
    There should be uproar over this.
    I too thought of having sex at 15.. didn’t.. but god help the poor lad who wanted it if I went ahead.

  7. That is correct.

    5.— A female child under the age of 17 years shall not be guilty of an offence under this Act by reason only of her engaging in an act of sexual intercourse.

  8. A quick note on the pregnancy issue: If it were only about the possibility of burdening some unfortunate girl with children, then there would be no need for the current prohibition on all ‘sexual acts,’ as there are several of these that certainly do not lead to conception.

    The Philippines have a surprisingly enlightened law covering this area, despite their age of consent being only twelve years.

    Sounds a little young to our ears, but then fourteen sounds pretty young too, until we hear of a case like this one involving someone just one year older (besides, have you seen some of the 14/15-year-olds recently?? Boys and girls).

    In reality, we know that people (of both sexes) develop physically and emotionally at differing speeds, so the Filipino courts try to make more informed decisions based on circumstance–rather than simply barring the offender from making any defence–as we have done in Ireland.

    Along with the usual proscriptions against prostitution and exploitation, they allow leniency for consensual ‘close age’ cases, and when considering those involving larger age differences they refer to the intelligent proviso that:

    “If an adult has sex with a child 12-18, it can be considered that the child did so because of the influence of an adult (even if there was no coercion).”

    Notice the room for mature consideration allowed by the legislation: was this 15-year-old an ‘influencing’ adult? Hardly.

    Of course, I am not championing every aspect of the Filipino legal system, far from it; but this particular law makes a lot of sense. Which is, come to think of it, probably why it has no place in the Irish legal system.

    [NB: I am not advocating paedophilia. Turn your CAPS LOCK off.]


  9. Myres, below, on this subject a while back. This law is steeped in misandry, and the judge in question is quite clearly completely insane.
    Either that or she has no young male relatives. She said that the adverse affect of underage sex – such as pregnancy, early parenthood and resulting lower educational and occupational attainment – fall to a greater extent on girls than boys. Indeed, and how adverse does she think being jailed for five years and placed on a sex offenders list will be on a males educational and occupational aspirations?

    Parent with teenage boys have serious cause for alarmn with this appaling law. You could find your childs life completely ruined, and we are speaking of male children here. Meantime, how was this law the passed? Blame the media. Except for Myres and John Waters and one or two others no one batted an eye lid.


  10. Yet again I am convinced that the price Homo Sapiens paid for what little intelligence we have is a great deal of insanity.

  11. Well, they were embarrassed to be told their original law was highly flawed. Darwin has highlighted a proposition that many law students have clearly seen for themselves, but unfortunately its allowing people to have a choice about sex, something our squeaky clean church could never allow! Sex education in schools must be a requisite, without Fr & Sr. telling us we’ll get herpes from a cup! (Wouldn’t like to have to drink from the chalice) But above all, it requires people to think. Parents need to show responsibility. The above takes no consideration of consent whatsoever! I wonder how many teen pregnancies there would be if there was no Single Parent Family Allowance, if parents were actually held responsible for their children’s behavior. The extra cost of a mouth to feed and clothe. Em. i wonder?

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