Wednesday 26 June 2019

Man jailed for raping young woman with Down Syndrome refused extra time to bring appeal

Sex offender Faisal Ellahi during a previous court appearance
Sex offender Faisal Ellahi during a previous court appearance

Ruaidhri Giblin

A man jailed for raping a young woman with down syndrome has been refused extra time in which to bring an appeal against his conviction.

Faisal Ellahi (37), originally from Haripur in Pakistan, was found guilty of rape and sexual assault by a jury at the Central Criminal Court following a five week trial.

Ellahi had denied the charge claiming the victim had actively participated in a sexual encounter with him, having become separated from her mother.

Giving evidence in his defence, he claimed he didn't know she had a mental impairment and looked “normal” to him.

He said people with mental impairments in his native country were kept at home or in hospitals and that they wore name badges to indicate they were disabled.

Sentencing him to 13 years imprisonment in March 2016, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the “frightening, appalling, disgusting and depraved” offence committed by Ellahi had "demolished" years of work in helping the woman lead an independent life.

The judge complimented the victim's mother on her dignity and fortitude in meeting the case and wished the family well in the future as they seek to restore the woman to her independence. 

Ellahi lodged an appeal against his conviction one year and seven months outside of the 28-day limit provided for criminals to lodge an appeal. He claimed he was “distraught and overwhelmed” by the jury’s verdict, and “lacked the emotional strength” to deal with the appeal procedure.

However, he was refused extra time to bring an appeal against his conviction today.

President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said the court had regard to the long delay and to the fact there didn’t appear to be any ground of appeal that had a real prospect of success.

He said prosecution evidence was compelling and the defence case “strained credibility to, and beyond, breaking point”.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said the interests of victims had to be considered and the victim’s position in this case was particularly acute.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Caroline Biggs SC, said the victim was entitled to assume the case had long since completed.

The Central Criminal Court heard that the woman was out with her mother that day but that they became separated.

In her interviews, the woman said a man found her on the street and pushed her into a corner before saying “come with me.” She said the man told her he was going to help her before taking her by the hand to a house. “He didn't help me,” she said. “I was confused and scared and sick.”

The court heard evidence from 16 women who were approached by Ellahi in the area around the time of the rape.

One women who lived across the road from him said he tried to force his way inside her home after she returned from a night out.

Ellahi gave evidence in his own defence in which he admitted propositioning many women as he walked the streets near his Dublin home.

He said he would stop women and ask them to come home with him for “consensual fun”. He said he also used prostitutes.

Ellahi moved to Ireland in 2005 where he found work as a security guard. He was unemployed at the time of the rape and spent his days walking the streets, the court heard.

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