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article imageOp-Ed: Get out of jail card for rape – I was sleep-walking, Your Honour

By Alexander Baron     Jul 14, 2011 in Crime
A man was recently acquitted of rape after fielding the unusual defence that he was sleepwalking at the time of the act. Two others who ended up in the dock on the same charge had a less convincing defence.
Sexsomnia sounds like some sort of joke, or perhaps an off-beat comedy porn film, but it is in fact a recognised medical condition. Two years ago, an unmentionable British tabloid reported the case of a Dutch woman who discovered in 1999 that she suffered from this rare syndrome. Sexsomniacs have sex in their sleep, actually initiating the act, without realising it and without remembering it.
Any novelty value this may have was quickly lost earlier this month when a man was acquitted of raping a sixteen year old girl after convincing a jury that he had no recollection of their having sex against her will.
The circumstances of the case, which were related at Swansea Crown Court, do appear to have been somewhat bizarre, and forty-three year old Stephen Davies was undoubtedly assisted by female defence witnesses, including his ex-wife, who said when they were married, his condition became a standing joke.
Another defence witness, Dr Chris Idzikowski, told the court that his claim was probably true, even though he had spoken to the victim – one may certainly call her that – and made a hot drink shortly after the incident.
Dr Idzikowski runs the Edinburgh Sleep Centre which treats a wide range of sleep disorders.
When the unanimous not guilty verdict was announced, applause is said to have broken out in the public gallery; though the acquittal may have been justified, that sort of reaction hardly was.
Although the sexomnia gambit is not to be advised, the best way to be acquitted of rape, or of any crime, is to wear a badge. That has long been the case, and in the wake of the acquittal of Messrs Moreno and Mata, that well established principle has been reaffirmed for the Nth time.
These two New York police officers were summoned by a taxi driver whose female passenger was too drunk to stand up, although there is some suggestion she may have been ill rather than drunk, or perhaps both. How would they have treated a man under those circumstances? He may have been taken to the police station until he sobered up, or conveyed to hospital, they may at a push have given him a ride home, but CCTV showed the woman entering her apartment building with the two officers, then after leaving her, they returned to her apartment three times; if that isn’t suspicious, what is?
There was also evidence of some intimate contact – though not DNA. Mata was said only to have acted as a look out, though he too was charged with rape. The case took three years to come to court, and after a lengthy trial, both men were acquitted of rape though found guilty of misdemeanours, and fired immediately after their conviction.
Afterwards, some jurors indicated they believed the men to be guilty of the major charge, but felt they couldn’t convict without DNA evidence. Sentencing has been postponed till August 8.
Although the circumstances of the two cases have little in common apart from allegations of gross sexual impropriety, the way Moreno and Mata were processed by the NYPD is strikingly different from the treatment meted out in the early stages of his investigation to a certain Mr Strauss-Kahn, which is further proof, if any were needed, that there are some privileges money can't buy.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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