Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Up next
Listen live on

Isaac Robinson sentenced in Rotorua for raping sleeping woman

Maryana Garcia,
Publish Date
Fri, 22 Dec 2023, 10:20am

Isaac Robinson sentenced in Rotorua for raping sleeping woman

Maryana Garcia,
Publish Date
Fri, 22 Dec 2023, 10:20am

Warning: This story discusses sexual offending and anxiety. 

A jury “rightfully rejected” a man’s defence of “somnambulism” – sleepwalking – for raping a sleeping woman, a judge says. 

The violation left the victim anxious, “constantly looking over her shoulder” and with deteriorating mental health. 

Isaac Robinson, 25, was sentenced on Wednesday in the Rotorua District Court on one charge of unlawful sexual connection. 

Robinson was found guilty of the charge at a jury trial this year before Judge Greg Hollister-Jones. 

Robinson’s victim has automatic name suppression and cannot be identified, meaning some details of the case cannot be reported. 

The sentencing took place before Hollister-Jones and a packed courtroom. 

Crying and swearing could be heard from the public gallery when the sentence was read. 

Hollister-Jones said Robinson “ran a defence of somnambulism” at trial. 

“My view as the trial judge is that this was rightfully rejected by the jury. 

“There was no evidence of a pattern of parasomnia or somnambulism from previous occurrences that did not involve you being intoxicated.” 

MedSafe’s website said parasomnia was an umbrella term for complex movements or behaviour during sleep, including somnambulism (sleepwalking). 

Hollister-Jones said Robinson’s description of the incident to the police was inconsistent with his first response to the victim on the morning after the crime. 

“Your claimed lack of recall is a defence mechanism you’ve adopted.” 

The circumstances of the offending 

Hollister-Jones said that on the night of the crime, Robinson picked up the “highly intoxicated” victim. 

“When she went to bed she went into a deep sleep.” 

Hollister-Jones said Robinson made sexual advances that were not reciprocated or responded to by the victim. 

Despite this, Robinson “had full anal intercourse with her”. 

“In a subsequent phone call with the victim, you told her you ‘forced it in’.” 

Hollister-Jones said when the victim woke the next morning “she realised something wasn’t right”. 

He said it took the victim a while to take in what had happened to her but she confronted Robinson as he was making breakfast. 

“She implied that you were making breakfast to attempt to make things up. 

“When she raised with you what she believed had occurred to her during the night you initially denied it then shortly after you said that you couldn’t remember it because you were asleep.” 

Over the next two days, the victim received a series of text messages from Robinson, repeatedly apologising for what had happened. 

The victim was in pain for two or three days after the violation, the judge said. 

Victim ‘constantly looking over her shoulder’ 

Hollister-Jones said the victim’s impact statement spoke of the profound impact the offending had on her. 

“She described her anxiety as being ‘out the gate’,” Hollister-Jones said. 

“She is constantly looking over her shoulder.” 

Hollister-Jones said the victim’s mental health deteriorated. 

“Her parents have also filed a victim impact statement in which they speak of the deep consequences in terms of the downturn of their daughter’s wellbeing.” 

Crown prosecutor Anna McConachy said in her submissions that the victim’s vulnerability was the “stand-out” aggravating feature of the offending. 

McConachy submitted that there were no discounts on sentencing available to Robinson. 

Defence lawyer Sharyn Green said Robinson’s sentence could be discounted for somnambulism, remorse, good character, good prospects of rehabilitation, low risk of reoffending and his poor mental health involving depression and anxiety. 

Green also said Robinson’s mother was terminally ill. 

“If he could take back that evening, no doubt he would,” Green said. 

The sentence 

Hollister-Jones said Robinson’s expressions of remorse immediately after did not reduce his culpability for the offending. 

He said Robinson displayed “narcissistic tendencies” and unless these tendencies were “worked on” Robinson did not have a good prospect of rehabilitation. 

Robinson was sentenced to six years and six months’ imprisonment. 

He was led from the dock in tears as he said goodbye to members of his family who were present in the courtroom. 


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, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, any time 24/7: 
• Call 0800 044 334 
• Text 4334 
• Email [email protected] 
• For more info or to web chat visit safetotalk.nz 
Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list. 
If you have been sexually assaulted, remember it's not your fault.  



Where to get help: • LIFELINE AOTEAROA: 0800 543 3 
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7) 
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7) 
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7) 
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm) 
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 or TEXT 4202 

Maryana Garcia is a regional reporter writing for the Rotorua Daily Post and the Bay of Plenty Times. She covers local issues, health and crime. 

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you