Barrister jailed for four years after rape conviction

Jacobs: Placed on sex offenders register for life

A barrister has been jailed for four years after being convicted of raping a woman he met on Tinder.

He repeatedly yelled “I didn’t do it. I was telling the truth” from the dock after the verdict was given.

Robin Jacobs, 39, was having consensual sex with the woman in September 2017 at his flat but suddenly forced her to have anal sex, ignoring her screams to stop for up to 30 seconds.

The Old Bailey heard that Jacobs then told the woman, in her 30s, to “come for a cuddle” and offered her paracetamol.

The lawyer, from Woodford, east London, was called to the Bar in July 2006 and specialised in education law. He denied raping the woman and said he would have stopped immediately if she had told him to. But he was convicted after a week-long retrial.

Judge John Hillen told him to sit down as the 10-2 majority verdict was announced by the jury of five women and seven men after nearly five hours of deliberations. Jacobs then collapsed in the dock.

He was later jailed for four years after regaining his composure and thanked the judge for imposing the “lowest possible sentence”.

In her account to the police, the woman said: “He forced his penis into my anus and I told him to stop twice and he didn’t. Then I screamed ‘get off’ and he stopped but he didn’t move away.

“At that point I was just face down on the bed. I didn’t know what to do with myself – I was in quite a lot of pain. And then he told himself twice that it wasn’t funny, that he shouldn’t laugh, not to laugh, and then after the second time he did laugh.

“And then he saw that I hadn’t moved and then he sort of moved me across and sat down and said ‘come for a cuddle’ and I said no. I would say that [he used] a huge amount of force. It felt like what you would describe as a stabbing pain. It just wasn’t stopping. I was still in pain when I went into work on Monday.”

After the incident, Jacobs texted a friend to say: “My date has just f–ked off because I tried to stick my c–k up her a–e – what’s the world coming to?”

A later text said: “I just hope there’s no trouble as a result. I apologised repeatedly when she was here… All this fuss over a fat girl’s a–e. Jesus.”

A few days later, Jacobs wrote: “I haven’t been nicked yet, so that’s good.”

The barrister said he had been motivated by a desire to reach out and speak to someone.

He claimed he was confused about what had happened and that he was trying to “fit in” with his “laddish” behaviour. He said he used this to “navigate social interactions” – after the incident, he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which means he struggles to read social signals.

The prosecution suggested that his ASD did not impact his understanding of consent and his reasonable belief of consent in this case.

Jacobs said in the first trial that he understood “in the narrow sense” that consent to one sexual act did not mean consent to another. “But at the same time, you form an impression of someone’s character and someone’s boundaries based on the sort of things you have done so far and the sort of things you tried. Based on everything, I considered those boundaries to be wider in this instance.”

He said he had given the woman a warning, telling her to “hold steady”, adding: “I think she knew what I was going to do and she was alright with it until she was hurt.”

Judge Hillen said: “It gives the court no pleasure to sentence anyone to terms of imprisonment and in this particular case, with a man of good character, of exemplary character, a high standing in his profession, to have to sentence you as I must, and as you know I must, to a term of imprisonment is a sad event…

“I accept that your laughing was involuntary and that you, in an uncharacteristic selfish state of mind, were bemused by her reaction. That bemusement was caused by your belief that she consented.

“I am satisfied on your evidence that you did genuinely believe that your victim would consent. That belief was unreasonable, wholly unreasonable in the circumstances.”

The sentence was mitigated by the long delay between the offence and the trial, which the judge said was caused by a “lack of diligence” by police and the Crown Prosecution Service, and aggravated by the pandemic.

The conviction meant the barrister was likely to “never” work in the legal profession again, he added.

The woman’s victim impact statement said she has been on medication and in counselling, and was off work for two months. It said she felt she had no control over her life and that her trust of people has been affected.

Stephen Rose, defending, said Jacobs did not deliberately try to humiliate the complainant but that his laughter was the result of his then undiagnosed ASD.

Mr Rose described Jacobs’ actions as “a momentary mistake”. He said: “This is not a defendant who will trouble the court again. He is struggling and I have no doubt will struggle to understand, principally for reasons associated with his disability, the outcome of this case.”

Jacobs must also register as a sex offender for life.

    Readers Comments

  • Chris says:

    redibly harsh penalty and bad law in action. The activity, taken as one, was consensual. He made a mistake and corrected it. Conviction, sentence and loss of career is too heavy a price to pay.

  • Leper says:

    Hope the remorseless arrogant scumbag gets a taste of his own medicine in prison…

  • Samuel says:

    Is this a troll comment? How can you say that after reading the text messages he sent after the act in question, which are quoted in this article? His sentence is lenient, in my view.

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