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Delayed Prosecution for Childhood Sexual Abuse$
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Penney Lewis

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199282289

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199282289.001.0001

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Limits on Prosecution

Limits on Prosecution

(p.31) 2 Limits on Prosecution
Delayed Prosecution for Childhood Sexual Abuse

Penney Lewis

Oxford University Press

The law in some jurisdictions contains provisions which limit the state's ability to prosecute cases of childhood sexual abuse which have been reported after a delay. Such limits may be statutory, in the form of limitation periods or statutes of limitation, or constitutional, in the form of speedy trial or fair trial guarantees. While statutes of limitation in delayed CSA cases have been adapted in various ways in order to attempt to respond to the particular dynamics of CSA and its reporting, they lack the flexibility of a more particularized approach. The sole persuasive argument against the prosecution of delayed CSA concerns the question whether the defendant in the particular case can obtain a fair trial. Although the due process jurisprudence could provide such a particularized assessment of the prejudice caused to the defendant's fair trial right by the delay in prosecution, its restrictive interpretation has failed to do so.

Keywords:   statute of limitation, limitation period, speedy trial, fair trial, constitution, due process, pre-charge delay

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