A MAN who molested a five-year-old girl when he was drunk after a Christmas party has been jailed for two and a half years.
And Daniel Reid's solicitors have also been blasted for telling him his intoxicated state could be a defence to the charge.
As a result of their advice, the 29-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charge meaning the youngster was told she would have to give evidence at Swindon Crown Court.
But just days before the trial was due to take place a new lawyer spotted the error and told him he had to admit what he had done.
Reid had been drinking heavily at the works do on Tuesday December 11, 2012, when he stayed over at the home of the little girl.
After going to bed he got up during the night, went into the child's room and got into her bed.
The youngster woke when he was there and he removed her pyjama bottoms and pants and indecently touched her.
He went back to where he was sleeping and in the morning the child told him what had happened during the night.
Chris Smyth, prosecuting, said although Reid told the girl's family what she had said, he insisted he could remember nothing because of his state.
When he was questioned by police he refused to answer their questions and pleaded not guilty when he first appeared before a judge.
But before a jury could be sworn in on the first morning of a trial Reid, formerly of Haydon Wick, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a child under 13.
Lauren Soertsz, defending, said her client was appalled at what he had done but said it had been an isolated incident.
"It was an aberration, clearly a criminal aberration as it has led to him being in the dock of court one at Swindon crown court," she said.
"He talks of his disgust at his behaviour. He is aware of the consequences. It was committed while he was drunk. The way he behaved towards the child is not indicative of the man he was and still is."
She said he should be entitled to full credit for pleading guilty as he had been given incorrect advice by his solicitor that being drunk was a defence.
"He went to a solicitor in order to obtain advice. The advice he was given, essentially, it was thought that this was a specific intent case and that therefore the defence of intoxication was available to him and he was given that advice.
"Against the background of a man who was disgusted that he could indulge in this type of behaviour, in being told that he had a defence that would go in some way to enable him to accept in someway what he had done and cling to."
She said a letter was also written to tell prosecutors that the young girl would not be cross examined, but it never arrived.
When she took over the case she said he explained he had no defence and a letter was written to the court by the solicitors explaining their mistakes.
Judge Douglas Field said: "I am going to sentence you on the basis that you are a man of hitherto good character and that this was an isolated incident and that you have shown considerable remorse.
"The effect on this little girl has been profound, the effect on her family has also been profound and it is all at your door. You are responsible."
He added: "Never in my career have I had a letter from a lawyer explaining I should be giving someone full credit because they haven't advised a client properly.
"It was made quite clear to you from your first appearance in court that the judicial view was you had no defence. I was expressing myself plainly at the ground rules hearing.
"I think it would be wrong for me to give you full credit on the basis that your lawyer gave your wrong advice. You had the choice of taking that advice."
He also told him he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.