'Sexsomnia' dad guilty of sex attack on his cousin
A FATHER-of-three who claimed to suffer from a condition known as sexsomnia has been convicted of the sexual assault of his female cousin.
The 26-year-old had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the sexual assault at the victim's flat in Dublin on August 11, 2009. She is his first cousin.
A jury of 10 men and two women took less than 90 minutes to return the unanimous verdict. After being told that the man's partner was due to give birth to their second child in four weeks, Judge Patricia Ryan adjourned sentencing until March.
The six-day trial heard evidence that while sleeping on the floor of his cousin's bedroom, the man got in to her bed, pulled off her pyjamas and ejaculated on her.
His defence team had argued that he had a history of sleepwalking and was not conscious of having committed a crime, while the prosecution argued that the man was drunk and said that this could not be used as a defence against sexual assault.
The man and his cousin had been drinking along with their families for a number of hours following a family funeral before returning to her flat.
He told gardai he was very drunk after drinking all day and couldn't remember anything between going to sleep on his own and waking up in his cousin's single bed.
The victim said that she woke up to find her cousin asleep beside her. Her pyjamas were partially pulled off her and semen, later identified as belonging to the defendant, was found around her vaginal area.
The court heard that the man believes he has a condition, described as sexsomnia, which causes sufferers to carry out physical and sexual assaults in their sleep.
The man's pregnant partner told defence counsel Eanna Mulloy that over the course of their eight-year relationship she had lost count of the number of times that she had woken to find him having sex with her, apparently while still asleep.
She said on many of these occasions he was sober and that he would not remember the sex the following day.
Prosecuting counsel Anne Rowland put it to the man that his level of drunkenness had lowered his inhibitions and ability to control his own actions but that this was no defence.
Both the victim and the defendant sobbed in court as the verdict was delivered. He was placed on the sex offender's register and remanded on continuing bail until next month's sentencing.