Thursday 17 January 2019

Man jailed for sexually assaulting woman asleep on Dublin street

Central Criminal Court
Central Criminal Court

Fiona Ferguson

A homeless Latvian man who sexually assaulted a woman sleeping on the street has been given a five month sentence.

Aigars Grinfelds (34) placed his hand inside the underwear of the sleeping woman before a passer-by intervened.

Grinfelds, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexual assault of the woman at a location in the city centre on a date in December 2017.

He has nine previous convictions in Ireland, Germany and Latvia which include public order and theft and fraud offences. He has been in custody since January 19, 2018.

Garda Cathal McNamara told Sinead McMullen BL, prosecuting, that the woman had been asleep on the street at around midnight. It came to garda attention that Grinfelds was lying beside her and CCTV was focused on the area.

Grinfelds placed his hand inside the woman's underwear on her bare backside. A passer-by intervened and Grinfelds was arrested. The woman was taken to be examined. Grinfelds told gardai he was drunk at the time but accepted it was him.

Gda McNamara said the woman was asleep before and after the incident. The victim was upset about the offence and felt that she should have been safe in a public place. Gda McNamara agreed with Niall Storan BL, defending, that no violence had been used, that Grinfelds's remorse had been genuine and he expressed concern for the victim.

Mr Storan said Grinfelds had been homeless and suffering with an alcohol addiction which he has since taken steps to address. He submitted the accused had a strong work history and was considering going back to Latvia.

Judge Martin Nolan said all cases of sexual assault were serious but this case was probably at the lower end of the scale. He said Grinfelds had expressed remorse and was drunk at the time, which he said was no excuse. He noted Grinfelds had previous convictions but none of a similar nature.

He said that it was unlikely that Grinfelds would come back to court on a matter such as this.

Judge Nolan imposed a 12 month sentence and suspended the final seven months. He backdated the sentence to January when Grinfelds went into custody.

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