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‘Sexsomnia’ rape case story led to complaints

A defendant who was acquitted of rape secured clarifications in a series of regional titles over a Press Association report on the case.

The PA report on the trial verdict at Swansea Crown Court appeared in 14 newspapers including seven regional titles.

However defendant Stephen Lee Davies along with Eleanor Parker said the article was misleading and complained to the Press Complaints Commission.

The complainants said the piece suggested that Mr Davies’ defence was that he was suffering from sexsomnia at the time of the alleged attack when, in fact, his position was that the incident did not take place at all.

Sexsomnia is a condition in which people have sex in their sleep without realising they are doing it.

The jury’s decision was not ‘Not guilty by reason of insanity’, which would have been the case if his sexsomnia was an issue, but a straightforward ‘Not guilty’ verdict for all charges faced, the press watchdog said.

Newspapers which carried the story were the Newmarket Journal, South Wales Argus, , Yorkshire Post, Western Telegraph, Eastern Daily Press, Belfast Telegraph and The Press, York.

The complaints about the regional titles were resolved through the publication of clarifications, either in the newspapers or on the websites.

The South Wales Argus published on its website: “On July 4 2011, we carried a Press Association report of the acquittal at Swansea Crown Court of Stephen Lee Davies, who had been accused of rape. The report stated that Mr Davies was cleared after arguing that he was suffering from the condition known as sexsomnia.

“Although the court heard evidence that Mr Davies may have suffered from the condition, his defence was that he did not have sex with the alleged victim. We are happy to clarify this matter.”