A Lower Hutt man who admitted sexually violating a semi-conscious woman initially tried to tell police the victim had been the one taking advantage of him.
He even tried to reinforce his lies by telling police his own girlfriend had performed sexual acts on him in the past as he slept, asking his girlfriend to back up his story.
The claims were labelled "bizarre" and "nonsense" by Judge Denys Barry, who sentenced the man in the Wellington District Court this afternoon.
Jesse Paul Delaney, 21, appeared in court having earlier pleaded guilty to sexual violation and attempting to pervert the course of justice. His guilty pleas came on the day he was due to go on trial for the offending.
According to Judge Barry, the offending came about when Delaney - then 19 - and some friends agreed to spend a night at a rural property in Carterton in 2019.
The victim, who had only recently met Delaney, was part of the group of four.
The group travelled out to Wairarapa together, spending time relaxing, exploring the property, and sharing some drinks. It had been prearranged that the two women would sleep in the house's only bed, and the two men would sleep in the lounge.
But in the early hours of the morning the victim woke to Delaney coming into the room and asking to share the bed with her.
She declined, and he went back out into the lounge, where the other two people in the group encouraged him to go back into the bedroom.
"The victim had meanwhile gone back to sleep. She roused briefly when she heard the door open and felt the defendant climb into bed and place his arm over her shoulder, but felt too tired to stop or resist him," Judge Barry said.
Delaney then sexually violated the woman as she drifted in and out of consciousness.
The victim later made a complaint about the incident, and police set up a formal interview with Delaney.
"During the formal police interview the defendant said he believed the victim had taken sexual advantage of him without his knowledge while he was asleep," Judge Barry said.
"He reinforced this by saying that on previous occasions his current girlfriend had engaged in sexual activity with him while he had been asleep."
Delaney gave police his girlfriend's details, and they contacted her to speak about what Delaney had said.
She told them Delaney had asked her to confirm his version of events and lie to police, and that she'd initially agreed to do it, but had since changed her mind.
"One thing that tempers the seriousness of [the attempt to pervert the course of justice] was that it was so bizarre, it was so unbelievable, it was so naive a piece of nonsense, it was never going to gain traction," Judge Barry said.
Nevertheless it was a "serious attempt, that fortunately was so bad it was never going to get off the ground", he said.
Defence lawyer Michael Bott said the offending was a "shaming and acutely embarrassing episode" for Delaney, who had been drunk at the time and did not believe it would have happened if he wasn't drunk.
But Crown prosecutor Kate Feltham said there was not a large amount of alcohol consumed that night, and others in the group said Delaney had only drunk two or three cans of alcohol.
Judge Barry allowed discounts to Delaney's sentence for his youth, naivety and impulsivity potentially compounded by his underlying attention deficit disorder (ADD), his lack of prior convictions, and his guilty plea.
While the guilty plea was not early in the process, it still came early enough that the victim was able to avoid giving evidence at trial, Judge Barry said.
He sentenced Delaney to 10 months of home detention with six months of post release conditions.
Where to get help:
• If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
• If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone call the confidential crisis helpline Safe to Talk on: 0800 044 334 or text 4334. (available 24/7)
• Male Survivors Aotearoa offers a range of confidential support at centres across New Zealand - find your closest one here.
• Mosaic - Tiaki Tangata: 0800 94 22 94 (available 11am - 8pm)
• Alternatively contact your local police station
• If you have been abused, remember it's not your fault.