Sunday 24 February 2019

Convicted sex offender initially given suspended sentence jailed after 'coming to garda attention five times since May'

Munir Ghariani (26) formerly of Granitefield, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin leaves the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today. Pic Collins Courts.
Munir Ghariani (26) formerly of Granitefield, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin leaves the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today. Pic Collins Courts.

Declan Brennan

A convicted sex offender who was given a partly suspended sentence for robbery last May has been jailed after gardaí told a court that he was a danger to society.

In May 2017 Judge Melanie Greally imposed a four-year sentence on Munir Ghariani (26) and, taking into account the time he had spent in custody on this matter, backdated the sentence to May 19, 2016. She suspended the balance of the sentence.

Ghariani admitted attacking the woman and robbing her phone on a street “for the thrill”.

Ghariani, formerly of Granitefield, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of the woman on Granville Road, Cabinteely on March 21, 2016.

Judge Greally warned at that time that she would have “no hesitation” in activating the three-year balance of the sentence if he broke any of the conditions for his release.

Last month (June) Ghariani's probation officer Michelle Richardson brought the case back before Judge Greally because of his failure to meet with The Probation Service, as ordered by the court.

Judge Greally agreed to put the matter back for two weeks. She said if Ghariani did not turn up for two weekly meetings in that time he would be jailed.

Today Ms Richardson told the court that since then Ghariani showed up for a meeting and behaved inappropriately. She said that on July 7 he urinated outside a glass building in front of female staff.

She said that it was no longer safe or appropriate for The Probation Service to have a role in managing Ghariani. The court heard he has complex needs but has been taking his anti-psychotic medication since May.

Garda Padraig Nagle told the court that since last May Ghariani had come to garda attention five times. On one occasion he stared at a 17-year-old girl after she walked past his home before following her in a car to a house.

On June 23 a motorist allegedly saw Ghariani walking along a road with his trousers down and making movements towards the front of his body. On a third occasion he allegedly stole a mobile phone from a woman.

Gda Nagle said Ghariani was a danger to society and the community. He said he was also facing conviction for breaching the Sex Offenders Act by allegedly failing to notify authorities of his address.

Judge Greally said that while Ghariani was now taking his medication and was mentally stable this had had little impact on his ability to control his behaviour.

She said she believed he may be willing but unable to do so. She said the court had given him every chance before activating the balance of the suspended sentence.

Ghariani has 34 previous convictions including one for sexual assault after he groped a woman from behind as she was taking money out of an ATM. He was registered as a sex offender for that offence

The victim in the robbery was on her way home from a lecture in UCD when she noticed Ghariani following close behind her. He repeatedly asked to use her phone as he walked behind her.

The woman refused and he asked why. Ghariani then pushed her to the ground and tried to grab the phone. During the struggle he bit her finger in an attempt to get her to release the phone.

The woman screamed for help as Ghariani attempted to flee but a passer-by tackled and held him until gardaí arrived.

His other convictions include indecency, burglary and theft. The court heard he was on bail for a similar offence at the time of this robbery.

The court previously heard that Ghariani became an involuntary patient at St John of God’s hospital in south Dublin on April 3 of this year.

Ms Richardson previously told the court she and her colleagues considered him “high-risk” and said it was essential he continue to take his anti-psychotic medications.

Ms Richardson said Ghariani had been “non-compliant” with his medication in the past.

“We feel we have to adopt a high-risk approach,” said Ms Richardson, adding that the probation service would continue to meet with him for two years.

She said Ghariani had recently become homeless, and so she had liaised with local authorities who had agreed to provide him with accommodation.

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