Man at centre of sexsomnia defence sentenced to 12 months in jail
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Thursday, March 21, 2019 11:27AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 21, 2019 11:29AM EDT
After eight long years, the man at the centre of the sexsomnia case is going to jail.
38-year-old Ryan Hartman was sentenced to 12 months in prison. His victim, Rebekah D’Aoust calls it a victory for all sex assault survivors.
D’Aoust is out if the dark and into the light, as she exits the Brockville courthouse into the afternoon sun. D’Aoust says she finally feels free after 8 long years
“Victory, you know, you know it was another win for victims and survivors in the world,” she says.
D’Aoust is the victim at the centre of a sexual assault case dating back to a house party in 2011 in Oxford Mills.
Her attacker, Ryan Hartman, was convicted twice and appealed, including launching a re-trial under the sexsomnia defence, claiming he was sleeping when he attacked D’Aoust while she was asleep beside her boyfriend on an air mattress. When he lost yet again, Hartman launched a Jordan application claiming it had taken too long to get his case through the courts.
While this case has been before the courts for years, Justice Kimberley Moore ruled that the defence was responsible for much of that delay and tossed out the Jordan application, paving the way for the victim Rebekah D’Aoust to deliver her victim impact statement. And it was a powerful one.
“If I had one wish in the world for you, it would be to live a day in my shoes,” she told Hartman. “See the darkness I have to look past every day.” D’Aoust says the rape changed her course of life, impacted her financially and emotionally and drove her to drugs and alcohol. But today she says she is stronger and even thanked Hartman for that.
“I'd like advocate for other victims and survivors, hopefully across the country and, who knows, maybe one day around the world. But I've learned a lot from this and hopefully I can help other people through my story.”
Blair Crew, with Queen’s Legal Aid, provides advice to sexual assault survivors and says D’Aoust will empower other victims.
“It was empowering to hear that Bekah did not regret the initial decision to come forward. But she's an individual that the police believed, that there were charges laid, that the Crown attorney went forward with the charges and ultimately saw a conviction. And that's not something that happens in the vast majority of cases,” Crew said outside court.
Hartman was asked if he wanted to address the court. He declined to say anything, leaving his victim, now an advocate and survivor, to have the last word. She told court
“Eight years ago you made a choice that changed my life forever. Today, I am letting go of that. Today, I am free.
“He's completely and utterly guilty in the eyes of the law,” D’Aoust said, “In a sense I am free from this and I'm ready to start living my life.”