Wednesday 23 August 2017

Rape of woman with Down Syndrome 'beyond trauma'

Faisal Ellahi: lured woman to apartment before raping her
Faisal Ellahi: lured woman to apartment before raping her

Declan Brennan

A young woman with Down Syndrome had her whole life upended when she was raped by a man who lured her into his home, a judge has said.

At the sentencing hearing of Faisal Ellahi in Dublin's Central Criminal Court, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the rape of the woman on June 12, 2013, "goes beyond trauma".

"This victim's life has been upended in the most radical way," he said, disagreeing with Padraig Dwyer, defending, who had said he didn't know if the effects of the offence on the victim in this case was worse than that in other rape cases.

The judge agreed the victim had the support of a loving family to help her but stressed "all of their good work has been set at nought".

At a previous hearing last week, the victim's mother told the court years of work building up the independence of her daughter were instantly destroyed when she was raped.

Ellahi was convicted last December of raping and sexually assaulting the woman after luring her back to his apartment when she became separated from her mother near their Dublin home.

Ellahi, who is originally from Haripur in Pakistan, has pleaded not guilty to rape, sexual assault and having sex with a mentally impaired person. The jury was not required to deliberate on the third count if it convicted him of rape.

The court heard he continued to deny the charges and maintained his position that he did not know the woman had Down Syndrome.

He has no previous convictions in this jurisdiction and gardaí are unaware of any convictions in his native country.

Mr Justice Hunt agreed with counsel this case involved a single incident of rape, unlike cases of multiple rape or rape over a prolonged period of time, which Mr Dwyer presented to the court.

But the judge added: "The effects of [that single incident] are horrendous, way beyond the normal range of the offence because of the victim."

Mr Dwyer told the court he was seeking a psychiatric report for his client to deal with an issue over his client's IQ level.

Mr Justice Hunt listed the case for mention on February 2 to allow time for this report to be prepared.

Counsel told the court most cases of rape do not attract sentences of more than 10 years. The judge said whether this is correct or not is "another day's work".

Mr Dwyer maintained that his client's case does not attract a sentence beyond the median range, which is defined at five to seven years in an analysis of rape sentencing carried out by the Irish Sentencing Information System.

Irish Independent

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