Monday 20 January 2020

Pubgoer who groped two women in Dublin bar was former Algerian soldier who suffered from PTSD, court hears

Nourden Belarbi (31) pleaded guilty to assaulting two women in a pub
PIC: Collins Courts
Nourden Belarbi (31) pleaded guilty to assaulting two women in a pub PIC: Collins Courts
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A PUBGOER who sexually assaulted two women in the same Dublin bar by groping them was a former Algerian soldier who had suffered from PTSD, a court heard.

Nourden Belarbi (31) was chased away by the first victim when he grabbed her breast, then had a drink thrown over him by the second woman when he groped her bottom. The first woman saw what happened to the second and went to tell her she too had been assaulted, before alerting security.

Judge Colin Daly said he wanted Belarbi to be assessed for "sexual risk" before sentencing, and ordered a probation report.

The accused, with an address at Richmond Court, Longford Town and formerly of Grace Park Gardens, Drumcondra, Dublin was remanded on continuing bail.

Dublin District Court heard the incidents happened at a pub in north Dublin on October 14, 2018. Neither of the victims knew Belarbi.

The first woman (41) was out socialising with friends when she was approached by the accused. He proceeded to grab her breast and she became upset and chased him away, the court heard.

Belarbi then went to another area in the same pub and approached the second victim (30).

He grabbed this woman on her bottom and this victim became upset and threw a drink over the accused, the court heard.

The first victim observed what happened and approached the second woman and told her “she too had been assaulted," a garda sergeant said.

The woman approached security staff and told them Belarbi had sexually assaulted her. One of the security staff had witnessed the first assault and contacted the gardai.

Belarbi was escorted to the front door and the gardai arrived.

The court heard both victims had alcohol taken but were not intoxicated, while Belarbi was “slightly intoxicated” at the time.

The incidents were both captured on CCTV.

Victim impact statements were not read out to the court but Judge Daly said they were "very hard-hitting and eloquent" and the women were "very severely affected by what happened."

Belarbi was "incredibly apologetic" and "felt badly" about what happened, defence solicitor Colleen Gildernew said

The accused had come to Ireland from Algeria, where he had spent much of his adult life in the army, Ms Gildernew said. He had been treated for PTSD after leaving the army and was granted asylum here.

He was working and sending money back home to his family, and was concerned about getting a custodial sentence.

"Unfortunately, he lost his job because of the case being reported in the media and because of "what he did," Ms Gildernew said.

Belarbi had saved up €200 and Ms Gildernew asked the judge to consider ordering a restorative justice report.

"This isn't a case where money is going to be a solution," the judge said, adding that it was a question of whether a sentence was going to be imposed or suspended.

He adjourned the case to a date in February for a probation report, to include assessment for "sexual risk."

Bail conditions were changed previously to allow the accused sign on three times weekly at Longford Garda Station instead of Mountjoy. This had been causing him "some difficulty.”

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