A man has been convicted of sexually assaulting a woman who had come to Ireland seeking asylum.
he 54-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape, one of sexual assault and one of attempted rape of the woman in his Dublin home on various occasions over the weekend of December 1 to December 3, 2017.
The jury told Mr Justice Alex Owens, following eight and half hours deliberation on day 10 of the trial at the Central Criminal Court, that they could reach a majority verdict on one count but they were deadlocked in relation to the other four counts.
Mr Justice Owens took the verdict and discharged the jury. He thanked the jury for its service and wished the jurors well.
He remanded the man in custody and revoked his bail before he adjourned sentencing to July 12, 2021.
The judge ordered a victim impact statement and a report from the Probation Service to address post release supervision before he certified the man as a sex offender.
The trial heard that after his arrest the man told gardaí that he had never heard that a husband and a wife can have a rape allegation between them. He said to him rape cases involve someone getting kidnapped and then raped.
A witness from a mosque in Dublin said that after the complainant told her what had happened she confronted the defendant and asked him “why did you rape her?”
She said the defendant said he didn’t and that “you cannot rape inside marriage”. She said she told the man “you are in a different country now and there are different laws here” and told him that you can rape within marriage.
That same witness told the court that the complainant told her she and the accused had some form of a ceremony performed in a mosque and the complainant asked her advice as to if this meant they were now married.
The witness said she advised the woman to get an affidavit from the accused proving that it was a legally binding marriage.
She said she did this for the complainant’s own “self-preservation for her family back home”.
“If she was seen to have had any sexual intercourse outside of marriage it could be disastrous for her, potentially very dangerous and life threatening,” the witness told the jury.
She confirmed that “sexual intercourse outside of marriage is forbidden in Islamic culture”.
The trial heard that during a visit to Ireland in November 2017 the 36-year-old woman sought asylum in Ireland to avoid an arranged marriage in her native country.
She travelled to Dublin to file an application with the International Protection Office (IPO). She was told about a particular centre who could help her and a contact in this centre then told her about a mosque in Dublin.
She said she became aware that there was a service that was provided to the Muslim community where they could arrange meetings between people who were interested in getting married. She was introduced to the accused through this mosque and they met a number of times.
The complainant testified that after a ceremony took place between her and the accused, the man took her back to his flat and raped her a number of times over the course of three days.