A 22-year old man who sexually assaulted his friend whilst she slept has been jailed for nine months.
Mateusz Zdanuczyk appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Friday where he was handed an 18-month sentence which was divided equally between prison and licence.
With an address as the Simon Community on Belfast's Malone Road, Zdanuczyk admitted the charge of sexual assault which he committed on April 6, 2021.
Crown barrister Neil Connor KC said that prior to the incident, Zdanuczyk and the injured party had been friends and he had helped her decorate her flat.
Mr Connor said they had also "kissed on a prior occasion but that was the extent of any intimate contact."
In April 2021 the injured party had been the victim of an assault and on April 5 she asked Zdanuczyk to stay at her flat as she was concerned about being on her own.
He stayed on April 5 without incident and they spent the following day in each other's company taking drugs.
That evening they went to bed together and she fell asleep and Mr Connor said that "an unknown time thereafter she was awakened by the defendant" who was sexually assaulting her.
The prosecutor added: "She has been asleep and therefore unable to consent to that sexual activity."
After he left, Zdanuczyk then sent the injured party a text saying "I'm really sorry for everything that happened last night."
She told a friend what had happened, police were alerted and Zdanuczyk was arrested. During interview, he gave a 'no comment' response to questions put to him - but later admitted the charge.
A defence barrister said Zdanuczyk's guilty plea was an acknowledgement of his wrong-doing and that since the incident, he had expressed remorse for what happened.
The barrister also spoke of a lack of criminal record and a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome which he said may have impacted on Zdanuczyk's "impulsive decision making."
After listening to submissions from both the Crown and defence, Judge Patricia Smyth addressed Zdanuczyk and said: "A plea to sexual offence is of enormous value to the victim because it publicly vindicates her in her complaint."
Saying she was taking into account the fact he was only 20 at the time and that "large amounts of drugs" had been taken, Judge Smyth said the text message sent in the aftermath "did show genuine remorse for your behaviour at that time."
As well as being handed an 18-month sentence, Zdanuczyk was also made the subject of a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order and was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years.