Man in ‘sexsomnia’ case is not to face further prosecution
Third trial of man (31) for alleged rape will not go ahead, court was told
The man conceded he might have had sex with the woman but claimed he was suffering from sexsomnia at the time.
The Director of Public Prosecutions is not proceeding with a third trial in the case of a man who claimed he was acting in his sleep when he was alleged to have raped his friend.
The 31-year-old accused man had denied during two previous trials at the Central Criminal Court that he raped the woman at an apartment in Dublin in the early hours of September 28th 2008.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, conceded during evidence at trial that he might have had sex with the woman, but claimed he was suffering from sexsomnia at the time, a rare condition that causes people to carry out sexual acts while asleep.
The first trial, in 2015, collapsed due to legal issues just before a jury was to begin deliberations.
The jury in a second trial, in 2016, were unable to agree a verdict following over eight hours deliberations and a month long trial.
A third trial date was set down for Thursday.
When the case was called prosecution counsel, Patrick McGrath SC, told Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy that a jury would not be required. Mr McGrath said that he had been instructed to enter a nolle prosequi on the single charge on the indictment.
The 2016 trial, which lasted four weeks, heard the man and woman were childhood friends and were in Dublin attending a career fair.
On the night of the incident, the man and woman had been at Copperface Jack’s nightclub and he had consumed several drinks and a naggin of whiskey before they returned to a friend’s house to sleep.
During the night, she said she awoke to find the man having sex with her. She said there was a conversation about contraception in which he was responsive to her. He told her he would go with her in the morning to get the morning-after pill
She said he later admitted he had raped her and they both agreed he would get help from a Rape Crisis Centre. Several months later, she made a complaint to gardaí.
The man’s defence team presented evidence from two expert witnesses who said it was likely that he was suffering from sexsomnia at the time. Witnesses also said he had a family history of sleepwalking and he had groped or grinded against people in the past while asleep.
“He was in automatism due to his sleep disorder. He was unaware of what he had done,” Dr John Michael Shneerson, former director of a UK sleep clinic and author of ‘The Handbook of Sleep Medicine’, told Hugh Hartnett SC, defending.
He said that it was personal opinion that the accused “fits very well with sexsomnia”.
The prosecution said alcohol intake was a more likely factor in the incident than sexsomnia and that the accused’s actions were not consistent with the condition.
After lengthy deliberations, the foreman of the jury told Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy at the Central Criminal Court that he was “absolutely” sure they would not be able to agree on a verdict if given more time.