Man is jailed after sex assault

By by Court Reporter newsdesk@iomtoday.co.im Twitter: @iomnewspapers in Crime

A 56-year-old Douglas man has been jailed for a year after sexually assaulting his former partner.

Paul Michael Dawson, denied the offence but was found guilty after a trial.

Dawson was also accused of raping the woman but was found not guilty of that charge.

He was also put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for seven years.

The court heard how, in May 2015, the victim, who was then Dawson’s partner, had fallen asleep on a sofa in the living room after she had taken the prescribed drug diazepam.

Dawson had gone to bed in the room next door,, but during the night returned to the living room. He then removed her leggings and underwear and rubbed himself against her stomach.

Dawson had admitted the act but argued at a four-day trial that he had consent, despite the woman saying that he did not.

A probation report recommended a suspended sentence but Deemster Alastair Montgomerie did not agree, sentencing Dawson to immediate custody.

The report rated Dawson as a low risk of future offending but a medium risk of harm in the context of any sexual relationships he may become involved in.

Deemster Montgomerie said while passing sentence: ’You took advantage of a particularly vulnerable woman so you could indulge your own sexual urges. This was a betrayal of your relationship with her. One can only imagine her distress to wake up and find her lower clothing removed and no memory of how it occurred.

’The jury concluded, despite your evidence to the contrary, that you had not been given prior consent, and you knew there was no consent, but you went on to do what you did to a woman who was "dead to the world".’

Earlier the court had heard how Dawson had been of previous good character with no offences prior to this incident.

His defence advocate Jim Travers said: ’A lot of the conduct Mr Dawson has admitted to does fall within an indecent assault. But realisation dawned that she was not going to wake up and he moved away from her.

’His conduct throughout [bail] was impeccable, there were no breaches or difficulties.

’These proceedings have weighed heavily on his mind. The indecent assault has marked the end of his good character. He did concede he made poor decisions. He has been frank with probation and expects the worst from today’s sentencing.’

Deemster Montgomerie also hit out at the island’s laws and the fact that, once put on the Sex Offenders’ Register, the sentence could not be varied in the Isle of Man, as it can in England and Wales.

This means that once put on the register, the named person cannot be removed from it before the term is completed nor can the term be reduced.

The deemster said: ’I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve said it: when is the Isle of Man going to become Human Rights compliant? It puts the Isle of Man in a very bad light.’

Prosecutor Richard Butters replied that a new Sex Offenders’ Bill was being drafted at the moment and it was hoped that amendment to the law would be included to change this.