A jury has begun considering its verdict in the trial of a man accused of sexual assault in West Kerry.
The 39-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faces one count of sexual assault at a property in West Kerry in November 2019.
The complainant went back to the man’s apartment with another female friend and a mutual male friend, after a night out, and these three all slept in the same bed.
The man then allegedly drunkenly got into the bed, and sexually assaulted the woman while she was asleep.
The defence accepts that the sexual activity took place, but they assert that it was a case of mistaken identity.
The court heard that the man had about 10-12 beers and a few whiskeys on his own night out, and he returned to his apartment alone.
A friend of his had invited the complainant and her friend to stay at the defendant’s apartment, as they had trouble getting back to the AirBnB they had booked for the weekend.
The man told gardaí in his interview that he got into his bed without knowing there were other people in it, and woke up at about 5am to find himself spooning a woman who he did not know.
He told gardaí he found his hand was down in her underwear area, and when he realised what was happening, he took his hand away immediately.
The complainant then got up out of the bed and slept for another few hours on a separate bed, and the court heard the complainant’s female friend remembers her getting up in the middle of the night.
The man told gardaí he thought that the woman was his ex-girlfriend in his dazed state as he woke up.
The man told gardaí that later that morning, he raised the alleged incident with the complainant and told her he thought she was his ex-girlfriend.
The woman disclosed what happened with her friends later that morning.
The man was asked about the alleged incident by his mutual male friend the same day, and the defendant accepted he had got into the bed with her and engaged in a sexual act, but he stopped as soon as he realised what he was doing.
For the prosecution, barrister Tom Rice told the jury that a drunken man performed a sexual act on a woman he knew was asleep, and she therefore could not consent.
Defence barrister Anthony Sammon said it’s acknowledged the woman was subjected to a gross violation of her person, and the physical act definitely happened.
Mr Sammon argued that the man had made a mistake, and she was violated in a bizarre way that’s understandable.
The jury of seven men and five women are now considering their verdict.