The Herald reports:
A judge has dismissed indecent assault charges against a man, accepting he was sleepwalking at the time after getting drunk.
The Herald on Sunday can finally reveal the story of Tristan Corey Scott after fighting to have his name suppression lifted.
It is the fifth known case where sleepwalking or parasomnia has been used as a defence in a New Zealand court and it is cropping up more around the world.
I’m incredibly sceptical. It seems like a get out of jail card to me.
But the mother of the two teenage girls who were indecently assaulted in the latest case told the Herald on Sunday the verdict was “atrocious”.
The teenage girls, who were sleeping in separate bedrooms, gave evidence that they awoke to find Scott in their rooms, touching their legs, according to court documents.
Even if he was sleep walking, sleep groping is another matter.
The court heard that Scott, who lives in Wellington and works in IT, had been drinking heavily.
Scott, 35, has a previous indecent assault conviction from 2011 after pleading guilty to molesting a woman who was also asleep in her bed. He had been drinking alcohol prior to the incident.
This and a third alleged instance that did not result in charges, in which Scott entered a darkened house uninvited, were cited by police as showing a propensity to enter rooms where women were sleeping.
The fact he had a previous conviction for indecent assault, says a lot.
But Scott’s lawyer argued that the earlier incidents could be other examples of parasomnia.
Or it could be examples of when he gets drunk he tries to feel people up.
District Court judge Jim Large found that the girls were indecently assaulted by Scott, but dismissed the charges saying he was not conscious of what he was doing because he was in a state of automatism by way of parasomnia, caused by excessive drinking.
So now everyone who gets trollied will say it was parasomnia.
But the teenagers’ mother does not believe that Scott suffered an episode of parasomnia, which meant he was incapable of knowing what he was doing.
“For me, he just got drunk to the point he did things he shouldn’t have.”
Her daughters were disappointed, she said.
As they should be.
Police told the girls’ mother that the prosecutor took issue with aspects of the decision relating to parasomnia and wanted to appeal to the High Court but following a review by the Deputy Solicitor General this did not proceed.