A man accused of sexual assault by penetration was found not guilty due to a rare sleepwalking condition.
Dale Kelly stood trial earlier this year after climbing into his friend’s bed and sexually touching his girlfriend in their North Yorkshire, England, home – while he was asleep.
As reported by Yahoo News, the judge found him not guilty by reason of insanity on Friday (October 4).
Kelly had been on a night out on April 17, 2017, when he went back to his friend’s home.
The court was told that when Kelly arrived at the house, he would have had to climb up two flights of stairs in order to get to the bedroom.
The victim said she believed Kelly assaulted her, while his defence was it took place while he was sleeping and he thought she was a girl he was dating at the time.
After the incident, Kelly left the house and texted his friend to say:
I promise right now I have no f*cking clue what’s going on, I’m still wanting to wake up and for this to be in dreamland.
During the trial, the jury ruled Kelly had committed the act – however, they decided he wasn’t responsible for his actions due to his rare sleep disorder, parasomnia.
Since he was a young child, Kelly has allegedly suffered from the condition, causing bizarre, unpredictable movements or behaviours while he’s asleep, including sleepwalking.
Judge Simon Hickey also heard on Friday that Kelly’s actions demonstrated signs of sexsomnia – similarly to parasomnia, it’s defined by committing sexual acts while asleep.
Furthering from being found not guilty, the judge ordered Kelly undergo a two-year supervision order.
This will include an alcohol awareness course and an ‘adapted thinking skills programme’ – looking at changing his behaviour around poor sleep hygiene, alcohol and stress, which all exacerbate his condition.
Kelly was also handed a five-year sexual harm prevention order, barring him from contacting the victim of the assault until 2024.
The order also dictates that if Kelly stays at any other home apart from his own, he must make the occupiers aware of his parasomnia.
Judge Hickey told Kelly in court:
I judge that you do pose a real threat to the female victim and to any person who may be sleeping in the same household as you, because as yet you have yet to undergo treatment.
If you breach my order the penalties are severe – you could go to prison for up to five years.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.