Friends of rape accused claim he groped them while asleep


The jury in the trial of a man who allegedly raped his female friend while he was sleeping has heard from two university friends who claim that he previously groped them while he was asleep.

The accused's mother and brothers have also given evidence of a family history of sleep disorders, with one brother claiming he woke up to find himself initiating sex with his girlfriend.

The 29-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of raping the woman at an apartment in Dublin in the early hours of September 28, 2008.

The accused’s mother outlined incidents of him sleepwalking including an occasion when the family were away on holiday and all staying in the one hotel room and she woke up to find her son parading around in her sundress.

She said sometimes she would find him in the middle of the night staring at the television and she would escort him back to bed.

She told Hugh Hartnett SC, defending that her husband, who died when her son was 19 years old, told her that he used to sleep walk as a child. His mother and siblings confirmed that the man had sleep walking episodes as a child.

The woman told the jury that the accused's younger brothers used to also sleep walk and outlined various incidents of this.

The accused's university friend said that he and the accused were sharing a double bed while on a J1 visa in America in 2008. He had gone to bed early and woke up when the accused came back from a night drinking.

They both went to sleep but he woke up later to find the accused lying very close to his face, with his hand on his chest and he was grinding up against him. He pushed him off and told him to go back to his side.

He said the accused muttered “sorry, sorry, sorry” and they both went back to sleep.

The witness said he woke a second time again to the accused's face being very close to his own. His leg was over his leg. He shook the accused and woke him; he apologised and went back to his side of the bed.

Later in the night he woke to find the accused in a ball underneath the sheets at the end of the bed.

The following day he asked him about it and the accused said he had been asleep and apologised.

A second university friend of the accused told the jury that a group of them met up for a long weekend in Chicago, again in the summer of 2008. She was sleeping on a mattress with her boyfriend, beside the accused and his girlfriend who were sleeping on another mattress next to them.

She said she woke up to the accused grabbing at her, “feeling my breasts and my bum”. She said she realised it was him and tried to push him back onto his own mattress. He moved and she went back to sleep.

The woman told the jury she woke a second time to find the accused rubbing her from behind. She pushed him away and was telling him to stop but it was harder to get him to stop than it had been the first time. She woke up her boyfriend and he managed to push the accused away.

She told the jury he wasn't really responsive to her asking him to stop. She said there had never been anything romantic between them. She was with her boyfriend and the accused was with his girlfriend.

“I had to assume that he wasn't aware of what he was doing, that he was asleep and that he didn't know what was happening. It was just really bizarre. It didn't make any sense,” the woman told the jury.

The accused’s brother recalled an incident when he woke up to find himself behind his girlfriend trying to initiate sex with her. He said his boxers were down and he had an erection. His girlfriend woke him up and told him to stop.

“I didn't have a clue how I got there,” the man said before he added that he and his girlfriend had fallen asleep back to back.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of eight men and four women.

By Sonya McLean