Thursday, January 20, 2022

Sonya McLean and Brion Hoban

A man who sexually assaulted a teenage boy on a public street after he said he misinterpreted an interaction with the boy minutes earlier has received a fully suspended sentence.

Albino Sabino Dos Santos Filho (30) had been approached by the victim at around midnight and the child asked the defendant if he could borrow his phone.

Dos Santos Fihlo’s lawyer submitted to the court that as a result of his client’s intoxicated state and his lack of English “he understood that the interaction meant something more than it did”.

The child walked on, but the man then followed him and grabbed him by his penis and testicles and asked him did he want to have sex, Garda Alma McGovern told the court.

She said the victim was in fear and struck Dos Santos Filho a number of times with a closed fist and knocked him to the ground.

The garda told Diane Stuart BL, prosecuting, that a passer-by observed what he thought was a fight between two men, but later met the teenager.

The victim was distressed and hysterical and told the man he had been sexually assaulted.

The defendant then appeared on the scene and the passer-by and another man then managed to hold him until gardaí arrived.

Dos Santos Filho of Stella Avenue, Drumcondra, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexually assaulting the then 16-year-old in a Dublin suburb in August 2019.

He has no previous convictions and had studied to be a nurse in his native Brazil before he came to Ireland.

‘Unusual and unfortunate’

On Thursday, Judge Martin Nolan said this was “an unusual and unfortunate” type of case. He said that it seems taking all the facts and mitigation into account, the accused does not deserve a custodial sentence.

Judge Nolan sentenced Dos Santos Filho to one year imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions including that he pay €1,000 in compensation to the victim.

The judge said the accused is now “well warned” his drinking can get him into trouble, and it seems it was “something of a misjudgement” on the night.

During the sentencing hearing, Gda McGovern agreed with Ms Stuart that Dos Santos Filho had sustained injuries from the punches he received from the victim and was considered too drunk to be interviewed by gardaí when he was initially arrested. He later denied the allegations.

Gda McGovern agreed that the teenager declined to make a victim impact statement and that he had previously refused €500 that Dos Santos Filho had in court as a token of his remorse. The man now had €1,000 in court and the garda confirmed that the victim was willing to receive this money.

Gda McGovern agreed with Oisín Clarke BL, defending, that his client had only been in Ireland a number of months before the assault and had very little English at the time.

She accepted that he claimed that he didn’t know the victim was 16-years-old and accepted that it was dark at the time, so it would have been difficult to determine how old the child was.

The garda acknowledged that the plea was of guilty was of great assistance as it prevented the teenager having to give evidence at trial.

Mr Clarke told Judge Nolan that his client misunderstood the interaction he had with the teenager that night and believed it “meant something more than it did”.

He said his client came to Ireland because of lack of opportunities to work as a nurse in Brazil, and he hopes to remain in Ireland.

“He has taken away from himself the potential of this career,” Mr Clarke acknowledged before he added that his client has complied with the sex offenders register since his conviction and has also honoured his bail conditions.

Mr Clarke said Dos Santos Filho “was extremely remorseful” and has written a letter of apology to the victim.

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