The case of a man found not guilty of rape after a jury heard he may have been "sex sleeping" has prompted Northern Territory politicians to pass new laws.
NT Attorney-General Delia Lawrie said the legislation would make Supreme Court trials "fairer and more efficient".
Leonard Andrew Spencer made history when he was acquitted last May, marking the first time in an Australian court that "sex sleep" had succeeded as part of a defence.
The 48-year-old entered the bedroom of a guest at his home at Nhulunbuy in northeast Arnhem Land in the early morning of June 2007 and got into the 21-year-old's bed.
Mr Spencer, who claimed he had no recollection of the event, was accused of gross indecency and sexual intercourse without consent.
But his lawyer argued Mr Spencer was asleep at the time and depressed over his marriage break-up. (so does that make it acceptable to RAPE someone?)
Towards the end of the trial, the defence called on psychiatrist Lester Walton who told the jury that Mr Spencer may have suffered from the condition "sex sleep".
On Thursday, NT parliament passed laws that mean lawyers will no longer be able to call expert witnesses without prior notice.
"During the so-called "sexsomnia" case the defence called on an expert witness late in the trial and it can be argued that the prosecution was unable to prove its case," Ms Lawrie said.
"(They) didn't have enough time to adequately challenge the expert's testimony...
"The Henderson government wants Supreme Court jury trials to be as fair as possible to all parties concerned, and that's why we have introduced this legislation."
Ms Lawrie said the NT's Criminal Code Amendment (Expert Evidence) Bill brought the NT into line with Victoria, South Australian, Western Australia and Queensland.
"While most defence lawyers do provide adequate notice, public prosecutors have certainly had experiences where they are told at the 11th hour the defence expert's name but have had no real opportunity of challenging their expertise due to time or cost constraints," Ms Lawrie said.
"The bill provides certainty and consistency."
Ms Lawrie said the bill amended the Criminal Code to make the trial process fairer, reduce trauma to witnesses and cut court time and costs.
She said most stakeholders were supportive of the legislation.
ninemsn 8 May 2009
What an absolute joke at the expense of the Australian public.
His lawyer should be raped in his sleep, and then we'll see if he'll "argue" the same.