Even before he represented the police, one officer had a scheme to blackmail women into having sex with him. His powers merely gave him greater opportunity.
Even before he became a New South Wales police officer in 2011, Vaughan Mark Hildebrand had developed a scheme to blackmail women into having sexual intercourse with him.
His employment as an officer of the law merely gave him the authority and power he craved to better execute it.
The now 44-year old pleaded guilty in Downing Centre District Court to 44 offences involving 15 women over a decade, including blackmail and sexual assault.
During the sentencing hearing, the court heard that whilst a police officer, Hildebrand used social media to demand explicit images from women by using various threats against them.
Many of the women complied for fear of the officer using his position of authority to cause them harm.
The officer then threatened several of his victims that he would share the images to their partners, family members, colleagues and/or friends if they refused to have sexual intercourse with him.
Four of the women complied.
The Crown prosecutor submitted the officer’s scheme involved “very high levels of deception”.
“This is a case…of elaborate planning and deception by the offender in relation to all of his victims, motivated by a need for sexual gratification,” he told the court.
The case has been adjourned for judgement.
Consent in sexual assault cases
Mr Hildebrand’s guilt in respect of sexual assault is based upon a lack of consent.
In that regard, section 61HE of the Crimes Act provides that consent is considered to have been given in the context of sexual assault cases where a person “freely and voluntarily agrees to the sexual intercourse.”
The first requirement to establish a lack of consent is that the complainant did not consent.
The second is that the defendant knew the complainant did not consent.
This second requirement is established where the prosecution proves that the defendant:
- knew the complainant was not consenting; or,
- was reckless as to whether the complainant was consenting; or,
- had no reasonable grounds to believe the complainant was consenting.
In making such a finding, the court must have regard to all of the circumstances of the case including any steps taken by the defendant to ascertain whether the complainant was consenting, but it must not consider any self-induced intoxication by the defendant.
In addition to this, the current law provides that a person cannot consent to sexual intercourse where he or she:
- does not have the capacity to consent due to their age or cognitive incapacity; or,
- does not have the opportunity to consent as they are unconscious or asleep; or,
- consents because of threats of force or terror; or,
- is unlawfully detained.
Furthermore, the current law provides that a person does not consent if under a mistaken belief that:
- he or she is married to the defendant; or,
- that the sexual intercourse is for health or hygienic purposes.
The law also presently provides that the grounds on which it may be established that a complainant does not consent to sexual intercourse include where he or she:
- was substantially affected by drugs or alcohol; or,
- was subjected to intimidatory or coercive conduct, or another threat, that did not involve force; or,
- was taken advantage of through an abuse of authority or trust.
The law also makes it explicitly clear that a complainant who does not offer physical resistance is not necessarily consenting.