Assault on sleeping woman

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Confronting details revealed in Bunbury Magistrates Court where Ryan Alexander Gibbons, 30, pleaded guilty to unlawful and indecent assault.
Camera IconConfronting details revealed in Bunbury Magistrates Court where Ryan Alexander Gibbons, 30, pleaded guilty to unlawful and indecent assault. Credit: South Western Times

A Bunbury man whose lawyer argued he was in an “alcohol haze” when he indecently assaulted his partner’s friend as she slept, has avoided an immediate jail term.

After a drunken night out, Ryan Alexander Gibbons, 30, returned home on September 29 when he got undressed and into bed with his then girlfriend and her mate, who were sharing a bed.

When his girlfriend went to work that morning, Gibbons pressed his naked body up against the sleeping woman, whose pants had been “pulled down some time in the night”.

Gibbons moved his way towards the woman’s genitals, eventually forcing her to wake up.

Gibbons responded to the woman’s reaction by saying “don’t you like penis?” before she got up and left.

The confronting details were revealed during sentencing in Bunbury Magistrates Court last Thursday when Gibbons pleaded guilty to unlawful and indecent assault – a charge that was earlier downgraded from attempted sexual penetration without consent.

Defence lawyer Andrew Williams said Gibbons had no excuse for his behaviour and he was remorseful, with the consequences weighing heavily on him.

Mr Williams said Gibbons was heavily intoxicated during the night when he was out with friends, including his girlfriend and her friend, who both left early.

He said he would not put it down to Gibbons making a mistake, but being in some sort of confusion after waking up in an alcohol haze.

He said Gibbons had “assumed” the woman was awake and he was “adamant” he had no intention of doing “anything bad” without her consent.

Police prosecutor Sgt Karl Rep said while the charge had been downgraded, it was still a “very serious” matter that was aggravated because the woman was asleep.

“(People) should be able to sleep without fear of waking up to an assault,” Sgt Rep said.

Magistrate Belinda Coleman said there was no doubt the incident would have been distressing for the woman, with a high possibility she would suffer ongoing anxiety.

Magistrate Coleman said it was “very clear” Gibbons’ behaviour was out of character, with a limited criminal history and several character references.

She said while imprisonment was justified, Gibbons would benefit from some intervention and suspended an 18-month jail term for 12 months, subject to program and supervision requirements likely to include alcohol misuse and psychological intervention.

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