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Man who claimed sleep disorder during rape jailed

A 30-year-old man who claimed he was suffering from a sleep disorder when he raped a former colleague has been jailed for six years.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim had called expert evidence at his trial to support his contention that he suffered from ‘sexsomnia’, a disorder where people engage in sexual activity while asleep.

He was convicted after an eight-day trial of raping the 24-year-old woman in February 2018.

The jury heard the two had been socialising as part of a group and the man invited the group back to his apartment at around 5.30am.

He fell asleep on a bean bag and was brought to his room by the woman. He asked her to get into bed with him and she refused and returned to the living room.

The room was cold and went to his bedroom and lay on his bed fully clothed.

She woke to find the man having sex with her and asked him what he was doing and how many times had he done it. The man replied “you wanted me”.

The woman left the apartment and told a taxi driver what had happened and made a complaint to gardaí six days later. The man was arrested on 30 June that year.

He answered questions put to him by the gardaí but said nothing had happened between the two of them and that he could only recall going to bed.

DNA tests found his semen on the woman’s underwear and tights.

The court heard the man had made sexual comments to her before the night of the assault.

Passing sentence today, Mr Justice Kerida Naidoo said he had to have regard to the seriousness of the offending and noted the man had made two earlier sexual advances to the woman which were rejected and then “waited until she fell asleep and being fully aware, he undressed her to have sexual intercourse.”

He said the man had written and letter expressing his remorse but had contended that his actions were involuntary and therefore lacked moral culpability, that he was an “automaton” and does not accept responsibility for what he did or the consequences.

While the man did not have the benefit of a guilty plea, the judge took into account other mitigating factors such as his previous good record and the additional information received through 19 testimonials submitted to court including one from his wife.

The judge said it appeared he was a good character for rehabilitation but this was lessened by the fact that he did not admit his guilt.

He imposed a sentence of eight years, suspending the final two years on condition he engages with the Probation Service after his release.

At a sentence hearing earlier this month the woman said in a victim impact statement the attack “has made me feel less”.

“It has made me feel weak. When you’ve been violated in that way, it feels like somebody has taken a piece of you,” she told the court.

“You feel like something disgusting has been inside you and there’s nothing you can do to make yourself feel clean.

“Do you know how belittling it is for someone to rape you and then try and shrug it off by saying they did it in their sleep?” she said.

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