Thursday 22 March 2018

Rapist who pretended he was gay granted bail of €100,000 pending appeal

Tim Healy

A TUNISIAN man has been granted €100,000 bail after he appealed his sentence this week for raping a woman having tricked her into coming to his apartment by saying he was gay.

But the Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) said Samir Mansour must first have the cash lodged in court before consideration will be given to release him on terms including that he sign on at a garda station so as to prevent the risk of flight.

Mr Mansour (46), a chef and separated father of one of Windmill Hill, Prospect, Mullingar, had pleaded not guilty to rape, sexual assault, false imprisonment and making threats to kill the 20 year old woman at his Westmeath home on January 8, 2010.

A jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts after seven hours of deliberation following a seven-day trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley imposed a nine-and-a-half-year sentence for the rape and sexual assault charges, and suspended the final 18 months of both.

He also received a six-year sentence for false imprisonment and four years for making threats to kill with all sentences to run concurrently.

His counsel Bernard Condon asked the CCA to grant his client bail pending appeal after arguing that a question asked by a member of the jury during its deliberations rendered the verdict unsafe.

Mr Condon said that after giving its guilty verdict on the first three counts, the jury returned to the courtroom and one of its members, not the foreman, asked the trial judge did the prosecution have to prove the fourth count of making threats to kill beyond a reasonable doubt "or is it what we believe happened."

This, counsel said, this not only rendered the verdict, not only on the fourth count, but all counts, unsatisfactory. This created strong grounds for appeal and he was therefore seeking bail for his client who had no previous convictions, had turned up on bail pending his trial and worked for his brother who lives here in Ireland.

The State opposed granting bail on this basis and said the jury had been impeccably charged by the trial judge.

Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman, sitting with Mr Justice Daniel Herbert and Ms Justice Elizabeth, said it was an unusual case and the question which had been asked by the juror was capable of showing uncertainty and confusion in the minds of the jury on something very central to the case.

The defence had raised a definite or discreet point independently of what happened at the rest of the trial as to the uncertainty of the jury's role and the court was satisfied to grant bail.

However, after hearing from Paul Burns SC, for the State, that Mr Mansour represented a flight risk, as his wife and son live in Tunisia, the judge said the court would deal with the question of bail by imposing what may be an onerous terms.

The court would set bail at €100,000 in cash be lodged pending appeal and further conditions such as signing on at a garda station would then have to be considered.

Mr Condon, for Mansour, said he would have to take instructions and if the money could not be raised, he would seek a priority hearing of the appeal. The case was put back to January 14.

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