Belgian court acquits sleepwalker of sex assault

July 15, 2011 3:58:02 AM PDT
A Belgian court says it believes a man accused of sexually fondling a 9-year-old girl is not guilty because he did it in his sleep. Belgian newspapers are reporting that the appeals court in Mons, 65 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Brussels, upheld the acquittal of the man, identified only as Tommy, who blamed the incident on sleepwalking.

Tommy's lawyer, Michel Bouchat, is quoted as saying the court had accepted "that he acted without will or consciousness of what he did."

The lawyer said Friday he believed this was the first time such a defense had been accepted in Belgium. However, is has been successful in other countries, including the U.S., where an Illinois man with a history of sleepwalking was acquitted last year of sexual assault.