Sunday 18 March 2018

Man could have had ‘sleep sex’, court told

Conor Gallagher

A PROMINENT sleep expert has given evidence in the trial of a man accused of sexually assaulting his cousin which contradicts earlier testimony by another expert.

The accused man claims he suffers from “sexsomnia” which causes him to sexually attack people in his sleep. The 26-year-old has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to a charge of sexual assault.

Previously, forensic psychiatrist Professor Henry Kennedy, giving evidence for the prosecution, said it was extremely unusual for someone to be sexually aroused while sleepwalking.

Yesterday, Dr Christopher Idzikowski disputed this and said the view came almost directly from an outdated 1998 textbook on sleep disorders. “A person is capable of sexual behaviour while asleep,” he said. “It is possible for (the accused) to have sex while asleep.”

Dr Idzikowski was described by defence counsel Eanna Mulloy as one of the “grandfathers” of sleep studies. The doctor told Mr Mulloy that he had carried out several studies of the accused’s sleeping patterns and found during one test that the accused went straight into the ‘Rapid Eye Movement’ (REM) stage of sleep as soon as he drifted off.

He also said in males the REM stage was often accompanied by an erection.

The trial will continue on Monday.

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