A Royal Navy engineer has been cleared of sexually assaulting a male colleague after telling the court he could not have done it because he is “demisexual”.
Able Seaman Triss Smythe had told the hearing he was innocent, as his demisexuality means he has to have a strong emotional bond with someone before he could consider sexual contact.
He told the court he even struggled to kiss his female fiancee passionately at the start of their relationship, “let alone a colleague”.
Demisexuality is a term used to describe a person who feels asexual until they have formed a deep emotional connection with someone, at which point the sexual attraction extends only to that person.
The 23-year-old air engineering technician insisted the way he wrapped his arms around his fellow sailor and kissed him in an aircraft hangar was purely “platonic”.
AB Smythe, who was known to use the phrase “I’m here and I'm queer” around the workplace, denied one count of sexual assault of non-consensual touching and claimed the kiss was simply a “peck”.
A not guilty verdict was delivered after a three-day trial at Bulford Military Court, Wiltshire.
Nothing more than 'platonic feeling' for colleague
The court previously heard AB Smythe left his fellow serviceman feeling “violated and humiliated” by putting his arms over his shoulders and “grinding” up against him, before kissing him.
Both men had been wearing “paper thin” summer overalls at the time and the alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the trial the kiss went on “for what felt like a lifetime”.
During the trial, the court heard AB Smythe “circled” around the back of his colleague in a helicopter hangar at Royal Navy Air Station Yeovilton, Somerset.
Giving evidence, AB Smythe said his “demisexuality” meant the kiss could not have been of a sexual nature.
On his sexuality, AB Smythe told the court: "It's not something I scream from the rooftops.
"I am demisexual - with emotional requirements. It is on the asexual spectrum."
When challenged that he was using his sexuality as a cover, he replied: "I don't use it as a cover.
"The fact is I'm demisexual - sexual urge isn't something that comes easily with my own fiancee, let alone a colleague."
The court heard that AB Smythe, who has been “out” as demisexual for “roughly two years” since he started dating his now fiancee, waited three months before starting to feel sexual towards her.
He said he has “nothing other than professional and platonic feeling” for the complainant.