Appeal from conviction on charge of sexual interference in relation to a complainant under 16. Accused testified that he believed that the complainant was over 16, primarily based upon his belief that she was a sex trade worker.

Held: Appeal dismissed.

At minimum the law requires an “earnest inquiry or something that obviates the need for such an inquiry”: Osbourne [1992] NJ No 312. No inquiry made. “It would be incorrect to suggest that an accused discharges his obligation to take all reasonable steps to ascertain the age of a person by simply assuming she was of age because she was a sex trade worker.” Complainant was in fact not a sex trade worker. Although the fact that the accused did not ask the complainant her age was not fatal, the failure to ask is relevant as to whether all reasonable steps were taken.

M. Brebner, Defence Counsel