Monday, November 21, 2022

Declan Brennan

A barber who attacked a pregnant woman after he refused to pay for a public sex act from her has received a 21-month prison sentence.

Rafik Bin Salah (34), of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to assault causing harm to the woman on the boardwalk on Eden Quay, Dublin city centre on the night of August 24th, 2020.

Detective Garda James Campbell told Shane Costelloe SC, prosecuting, that the victim is a vulnerable person and was nearly seven months pregnant at the time and was not “in a good place”.

At around 2am on the night in question, the woman was “tapping” or begging in the city centre and met the defendant who offered to pay her €30 for a hand job. He paid her €20 and the woman performed the sex act on the boardwalk.

The court heard that instead of paying the rest of the money, the man tried to take back the money he had paid and while trying to do so, knocked the woman to the ground.

The woman suffered minor injuries but was concerned for the safety of her baby and she became hysterical and was screaming. Two people passing by saw the incident and stopped to help. Gardaí also attended the scene.

‘Hideous offence’

Salah, a Tunisian national, has five previous convictions here, including intoxication in a public place, property damage and threatening behaviour. He previously worked as a barber before coming to Ireland shortly before this offence.

Dt Gda Campbell agreed with Kathleen Leader SC, defending, that none of the people who witnessed the attack noticed the victim was pregnant.

Sentencing the defendant on Monday, Ms Justice Karen O’Connor said this was a hideous offence in which Salah took advantage of the desperate situation of the young vulnerable woman.

She said there was no evidence that he knew the victim was pregnant, but he did know she was desperate, adding he behaved despicably and shamefully towards her.

The judge imposed a sentence of 21 months, having taking into consideration his good behaviour while in custody where he has taken on the role of prison barber. The maximum penalty for the offence is five years.

The court heard the crime was investigated by the Divisional Protection Services Unit at Fitzgibbon Street Garda station in the city centre, which is a unit responsible for supporting victims of Domestic Abuse and Gender Based Violence.

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