Whilst a woman cannot rape another person, it is possible for her to be found guilty of rape (in legal speak as a ‘secondary party’ – aiding and abetting the ‘principal’ – the man who carries out the rape).
This is very rare indeed however – no exact figures are available, but no more than one or two women a year we think. One example was given on 13th November 2014 when Aliyah Weekes was sentenced for rape, along with her brother Lacquan and an unnamed 16 years old.
The facts do not make pleasant reading. It seems that Aliyah was concerned that the 15 year old victim had been ‘telling secrets’ about her. This seems to relate to a previous attack that Aliyah had committed against another individual. In revenge for this, Aliyah arranged for her brother to rape the victim as a punishment, making this clear by saying ‘snitches get stitches’ before the attack started.
After that, “She also threatened to make the victim “do a line-up” – street slang for giving oral sex to multiple men – and warned her she would be hurt if she did not comply“. It seems that the whole incident lasted for about an hour.
We don’t have the Sentencing remarks, but we hope in a case such as this that has generated such public interest they will be published. We do know that Aliyah got 4½ years detention and Lacquan 5 years.
There aren’t any details of what the 16 year old defendant did. He got an 18 month Youth Rehabilitation Order, so it is safe to assume that he was very much on the periphery.
For the siblings, the starting point is the Sentencing Guidelines (look at page 10). I would have said that it would be Category 2 harm, not least on the basis that the circumstances constitute “Additional degradation/humiliation“. However, looking at the sentence, this would give a starting sentence double what was received, so we imagine that the Judge took it as being Category 3.
It is clearly Culpability A due to the planning and the involvement of more than one person. This gives a starting point of 7 years, with a range of 6 to 9.
Why then the seemingly ‘light’ sentence? There was no plea of guilty, but the main mitigation was the age of the two – 19 and 18 respectively at the time of sentence. This, along with the other personal circumstances, may explain why a sentence seemingly below the guidelines.
We have to say that, despite their ages, this sentence seems an extremely merciful one. It may be, of course, that there is more to it than meets the eye, but in the current climate we would not be surprised if the AG was sniffing around this one…