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Thursday, February 11, 1999 Published at 01:07 GMT


World: Europe

Women in jeans 'cannot be raped'



Italy's highest court has ruled that a woman wearing jeans cannot be raped.

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Rome on Wednesday overturned a rape conviction, saying that the supposed victim must have agreed to sex because her jeans could not have been removed without her consent.


Rome Correspondent David Willey: "Ground-breaker in Italian legal annals"
A court in the southern town of Potenza had convicted a driving instructor of raping his 18-year-old pupil.

The instructor, aged 45 and identified only as Carmine, had been sentenced to 34 months' jail.

His defence had argued that the young woman - identified as Rosa - had consented to sex, a version of events which the woman strongly denied.

The Supreme Court ruled that it was impossible to remove a pair of jeans "without the collaboration of the person wearing them", and that the young woman must therefore have consented to sex.

In a judgement likely to anger women's rights organisations, the rape conviction was reversed.

Driving instructors in Italy have a reputation, deserved or undeserved, for molesting young female pupils, and the case appeared at first to be a familiar story of sexual assault on a lonely country road.



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