‘Sleep, Sex and Violence’? – Drystone Chambers

Posted October 4th, 2023 in automatism, chambers articles, news, sleepwalking by sally

‘It is over 17 years since I first ran a defence based on parasomnias. The circumstances of the offence were that in the early hours a 28-year-old man, whilst staying over at a friend’s house, had left the living room where he was sleeping, walked down the short hallway to his friend’s 15-year-old stepdaughter’s room and got into bed with her (he had slept in her room the night before) and touched her on her breasts. Two experts later (a sleep disorder expert and a neurologist) and I had evidence supportive of his case that what he had done had been in a state of sleep. I ran a defence of non-insane automatism based on somnambulism (sleepwalking) and sexsomnia (sexual activity in sleep). The jury acquitted. 6 years later I represented the same man charged with attempted murder. He had left his house, walked the short distance to his friend’s house, entered by an unlocked side door, went into her bedroom, got on her top of her and then put an axe to her head. Same experts, same defence, save that in this case the judge determined the appropriate defence was insanity and not non-insane automatism. The jury rejected insanity and the defendant was convicted.’

Full Story

Drystone Chambers, 19th September 2023

Source: www.drystone.com

Former soldier Peter Atilla cleared of ‘sexsomnia’ rape – BBC News

Posted February 10th, 2017 in automatism, news, rape by tracey

‘A former soldier accused of rape has been cleared after a court heard he was suffering from a sleep disorder.’

Full story

BBC News, 9th February 2017

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Automotive Automatism – Zenith PI Blog

Posted November 16th, 2015 in automatism, defences, news, personal injuries, road traffic by sally

‘I recently appeared in a County Court trial on behalf of the Defendant in which we were relying upon the rarely employed defence of automatism. For those of you who might stumble upon this sort of case once in a while, this article may provide some assistance as to how the Court will deal with such a defence.’

Full story

Zenith PI Blog, 13th November 2015

Source: www.zenithpi.wordpress.com

Insanity and Automatism – Law Commission

Posted July 23rd, 2013 in automatism, defences, insanity, Law Commission, reports by tracey

“We have published a discussion paper examining the rules governing the defences of insanity and automatism.”

Full paper

Law Commission, 23rd July 2013

Source: www.justice.gov.uk/lawcommission

Insanity and Automatism – Law Commission

Posted July 18th, 2012 in automatism, consultations, defences, insanity, mental health, press releases by tracey

“The Defences of Insanity and Automatism – Law Commissioner Professor David Ormerod says, ‘To produce meaningful reform proposals and be confident they will work in practice we need evidence of their current use and any problems they pose.  Our scoping paper asks questions to provide that information.’ ”

Full press release

Law Commission, 18th July 2012

Source: www.lawcommission.justice.gov.uk

‘Night terrors’ husband killed Neath woman – BBC News

Posted December 15th, 2010 in automatism, inquests, news by sally

“A coroner has said the death of a woman who was killed by her husband during a violent nightmare was an ‘extraordinary and unique case’.”

Full story

BBC News, 15th December 2010

Source: www.bbc.co.uk