3 September 2023

Alleged crime of stealthing heard in Canberra court for the first time

| Claire Fenwicke
man walking

Yolynn ”Owen” Chetty leaves court after being granted bail. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

A man has briefly fronted court for what’s believed to be the first charge related to the relatively new crime of ”stealthing”.

Yolynn ”Owen” Chetty appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday (1 September) accused of sexual intercourse without consent.

Magistrate Ian Temby explained the charge related to an alleged event on Wednesday (30 August).

“[It’s alleged] you engaged in sexual intercourse without [a woman’s] consent, and were reckless to whether she consented,” he said.

Police believe this is the first time someone had been put before the courts accused of stealthing.

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Stealthing refers to the act of removing a condom during sex without the other person’s consent, or refusing to wear one after agreeing to do so.

The Territory became the first jurisdiction to make stealthing illegal in 2021.

The amendment to the Crimes Act was made by Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee, who at the time described stealthing as a “heinous act”.

“Stealthing is an appalling thing to do to anyone and we know that it has long-lasting impacts on the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of victims,” Ms Lee said.

“It violates our bodily autonomy in the most intimate of moments, and victims have spoken about the impact that it has on their ability to trust people.”

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Mr Chetty’s legal representatives applied for bail, which the prosecution did not oppose.

He is scheduled to reappear in court on 28 September.

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