Gary Yuen, 48-year old engineer from Calgary (Canada), will not be criminally held responsible for Feb. 11, 2007 incident when he brutally assaulted a $1,000-a-night prostitute, which sent her running naked into the street in a bloodied state. The reason – because he did it while he was sleeping – in state of parasomnia, in which a person commits involuntary acts while sleeping.

Yuen, 48, faced five charges, including aggravated assault and unlawful confinement in connection with the incident in his 4 Ave. N.W. home.

His victim, who knew Yuen for 2 1/2 years, had flown to Calgary from Vancouver to provide sexual service over a four-day period for $4,000.

She awoke on the fourth day to find Yuen beating her with a baseball bat before he choked her unconscious.

When she came to he was having sex with her.

At one point she was able to flee the residence, naked, with Yuen on her heels, before a passing motorist picked her up.Source:


Judge Wilkins rejected prosecution arguments Yuen was lying when he testified he had no recollection of the Feb. 11, 2007 assault.


“On my interpretation of (precedent) decisions and having found Yuen to have acted involuntarily by reason of a parasomnia, I must conclude that he is not criminally responsible for those acts and I so find,” Wilkins said.

“The evidence before me is simply not sufficient to permit me to conclude that the parasomnia of Mr. Yuen is a non-mental disorder in that the evidence completely fails to deal with the public policy issues of any potential danger to the public.”

Defence lawyer Balfour Der said outside court that Yuen was extremely relieved.

“He’s a 48-year-old professional engineer with no criminal record, who hasn’t been involved with the law before,” said Der. “He says you have no idea how it feels to be walking down the street and have people look at you. . . . People assume you are guilty and meant to harm that woman.

“That’s why an NCR verdict is so important for him; that he is not someone who would wilfully harm another person, particularly one he cared for.”



What is Parasomnia? (from here)

Parasomnias are a category of sleep disorders that involve abnormal and unnatural movements, behaviors, emotions, perceptions, and dreams that occur while falling asleep, sleeping, between sleep stages, or during arousal from sleep. Most parasomnias are dissociated sleep states which are partial arousals during the transitions between wakefulness and NREM sleep, or wakefulness and REM sleep.

Yuen will now have to undergo a psychiatric assessment before a provincial review board determines what actions need to be taken to prevent similar conduct.
Some questions –
  • How can anyone be sure that he committed the assault while sleeping?
  •  Will this defense work for someone who has sleep disorder of parasomnia but commits the crime in full senses blaming the disorder?
  • What if he killed the victim?
  • Is paying for sex or hiring a prostitute legal in Calgary? I guess it is.




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