Sexsomnia defence rejected by Brockville judge in sexual assault trial

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A judge has found 38-year-old Ryan Hartman guilty for the sexual assault of a woman back in 2011. Hartman attempted to use the defence of sexsomnia, claiming he did not remember assaulting the woman – Nov 19, 2018

A Brockville judge has denied a man’s sexsomnia defence to a sexual assault charge stemming from an incident at a house party several years ago.

Ryan Hartman, 38, was accused of having sexually assaulted a stranger while she was sleeping on an air mattress at a Brockville home in 2011. In May 2012, Hartman was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 14 months in jail.

READ MORE: Alleged ‘sexsomniac’ who admits to sexually assaulting woman wins new trial

Hartman initially appealed the decision and lost in 2012.

He appealed again in 2015, but this time he admitted that he had sexually assaulted the victim, but also claimed that he was not criminally responsible for the act because he suffers from sexsomnia, a mental condition that makes people engage in sexual acts while asleep. The Ontario Court of Appeal granted him a retrial, but only on the narrow issue of whether he could use the sexsomnia defence to gain an acquittal.

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In a Brockville court on Monday, the judge rejected that defence and ruled that Hartman was guilty of the sexual assault of a now 30-year-old Ottawa-area woman, who cannot be identified due to a court order.

The judge added that she could not accept the evidence of Colin Shapiro, the psychiatrist who spoke to Hartman’s sexsomnia defence, because the doctor was biased in Hartman’s favour.

“I find it would be unsafe for me to rely on Shapiro,” the judge told the court.

READ MORE: 6 boys charged in alleged group sexual assault at St. Michael’s College

The judge said it was much more likely that Hartman blacked out due to alcohol consumption.

Hartman will be back in court at the end of November for sentencing.

— More to come.

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