Since 2005, there have been a number of cases in which defendants charged with sexual offences have claimed that they carried out the acts alleged whilst sleeping, seeking to use the condition sexsomnia as the basis of a defence of either insanity or automatism. This chapter considers the role of the forensic sleep expert in establishing a defence based on sexsomnia. We discuss the limitations on the conclusions that can be drawn by sleep experts, based on clinical evaluation and other relevant factors. In order to properly understand the context in which expert evidence is admitted, we explore the application of the internal/external factor test to sexsomnia cases and the appropriateness of the test in such circumstances. We also consider the potential impact of the recent amendments to Part 33 of the Criminal Procedure rules and the associated Criminal Practice Direction on the admissibility of forensic sleep expert evidence in sexsomnia cases.
|Title of host publication
|Mental Condition Defences and the Criminal Justice System: Perspectives from Law and Medicine
|Ben Livings, Alan Reed, Nicola Wake
|Place of Publication
|Newcastle upon Tyne
|Number of pages
|Published - 1 Feb 2015