Wednesday 22 November 2017

Swedish man cleared of raping teenage girl after saying he was asleep at the time

Man says he was unaware he had had sex with the girl until DNA tests proved he was the father of the baby she conceived

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Caroline Mortimer

A Swedish man has had his conviction for raping a teenage girl overturned - because he was asleep at the time.

The unnamed man from central Sweden said he was unaware he had had sex with the girl until DNA tests proved he was the father of the baby she conceived.

The girl confirmed the man in his 50s was asleep at the time, but said she had allowed the intercourse to take place in the hopes that his wife, who was sleeping next to them, would wake up.

In March, the district court rejected this explanation and sentenced the man to two and a half years in prison for raping a minor. 

It concluded that the girl’s story was probably an “afterthought” - as the position she said the rape had happened in would have been impossible for a sleeping person.

An expert also gave evidence to the court saying it is highly unusual for someone not to wake up during sex if they are not suffering from sexsomnia - a rare sleep disorder which makes the suffer attempt to have intercourse while in deep sleep.

The man has not been diagnosed with the disorder.

But the central appeals court, the Svea Hovrätt, threw the verdict out on Tuesday saying the prosecution had not proven beyond reasonable doubt that the man was awake when the incident took place. 

The man’s lawyer, Jimmy Schiöld, told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet: "My client is of course very relieved. He has, from day one, professed his innocence and it has  uphill fight for us.

“When you're accused of this type of crime,been anwhich is very serious, you almost have to prove your innocence rather than the other way around,which is how it felt in the District Court".

He said his client was now a free man after four months in prison and that he just wanted “to move on with his life”. 

A courtroom assistant acting on behalf of the victim declined to comment.

The prosecutor also declined to comment on whether she will appeal the case in the Swedish Supreme Court.

There have been several cases of defendants claiming sexsomnia in Sweden over the past decade - a suspected sleeping rapist was cleared by an appeals court in 2014 - prompting a Gothenburg prosecutor, Ginger Johannson, to put together guidelines earlier this year, the Local reports.

Her report said courts should call on sleep experts to discuss the condition and focus on whether the defendant appeared groggy or alert to the victim at the time of the attack. 

Independent News Service

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