Monday, January 23, 2023

By Isabel Hayes and Sonya McLean

A man who repeatedly raped a woman he met on a dating website after giving a false name has been jailed for nine years.

Bajo Ziflai (22) was found guilty by a jury of four counts of raping the 23-year-old woman and one count of sexually assaulting her at an address in Co Galway following a Central Criminal Court trial in July last year.

He was 20 years old at the time of the attack.

Sentencing him on Monday, Ms Justice Eileen Creedon noted Ziflai has shown no remorse or acknowledged the harm he caused to the woman on the night in question.

He does not accept the verdicts of the jury and continues to maintain the woman made up the allegations because she was “attention seeking”.

Ziflai, with an address at Lacken Valley, New Ross, Co Wexford, has no previous convictions. He has been in custody since shortly after the attack.

The court heard Ziflai met the woman on a dating website and gave her a false name.

They arranged to meet at a house and she was driven there by her mother. She told him in advance they would not be having sex, the court heard.

Despite this, Ziflai raped the woman four times and sexually assaulted her before she managed to leave the house and call her mother.

Premeditated

Ms Justice Creedon noted the attack was premeditated by Ziflai, who gave the woman a fake name.

She noted the attack had a significant impact on the woman, who has suffered with PTSD and depression as a result.

Because he refuses to acknowledge his wrong-doing and, accordingly, has not expressed any remorse for his actions that night, Ms Justice Creedon said there was no mitigation open to Ziflai.

She noted he has no previous convictions, is still a young man and has a long life ahead of him upon his release from prison.

The judge handed down a 10-year jail sentence, and suspended the final year on a number of conditions. Ziflai will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

A local garda told Edward Doocey BL, prosecuting, that the woman messaged Ziflai to say that while she intended to stay overnight, there would be no sexual activity between them.

She later told gardaí that they were conversing over Snapchat and Ziflai acknowledged the woman’s message and replied “OK”.

She arrived at the house with pizza, fizzy drinks, crisps and sweets.

There was consensual kissing between the pair before Ziflai showed the woman to the bedroom. He asked her if she wanted to have sex, and she replied no.

Arrest

Ziflai then proceeded to rape the woman. She later told gardaí that she “at all times told him to stop”, but he continued.

He turned the woman over to her stomach, grabbed her arms above her head, pulled her by the ponytail and raped her again. He then raped her a third and fourth time.

The woman later made an excuse to leave the house, called her mother and the gardaí were immediately alerted to the rape.

Ziflai was arrested and claimed during interview that they had consensual sex once, which she initiated.

The woman underwent an exam in the sexual assault treatment unit of her local hospital and was found to have bruising and cuts to her genital area.

The court heard that Ziflai had come to Ireland from Albania and had been living with his brother in Wexford. He has no previous convictions in Ireland.

Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, accepted that there has been no admission of guilt from his client but asked the court to take into account his youth.

He handed in a number of testimonials on behalf of Ziflai. He submitted to the court that there was no evidence of pre-meditation.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help. 

In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112. 

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