Thursday 22 August 2019

'Serious violation of a young woman' - man who sexually assaulted woman avoids prison sentence

Constantin Cobzac (25), of Park Drive, Ranelagh, Dublin, leaving court after the case
PIC: Collins Courts
Constantin Cobzac (25), of Park Drive, Ranelagh, Dublin, leaving court after the case PIC: Collins Courts
Constantin Cobzac pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman PIC: Collins Courts

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A MOLDOVAN national has been given a two and half year suspended sentence for sexually assaulting a woman at a house in Dublin.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the woman had pushed Constantin Cobzac (25) away and told him “no” when he tried to kiss her in the kitchen at the premises.

He later followed her into a bedroom, lifted her up onto the bed and put his hand down her trousers while lying on top of her.

Cobzac, with an address at Park Drive, Ranelagh, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexually assaulting the woman in Dublin on July 2, 2018. He has no previous convictions.

Constantin Cobzac pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman PIC: Collins Courts
Constantin Cobzac pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman PIC: Collins Courts

Garda Paul Gray said a number of people, including the woman's two friends, had been drinking and socialising in the house that evening.

The woman later told gardaí that though she was mainly speaking with her friends, at one point she asked Cobzac for the wifi password. He tried to kiss her as he showed her the password and she pushed him back.

Later on, when her friends had gone, he followed her into a bedroom upstairs, closed the door and lifted her onto the bed. He lay on top of her and removed her trousers belt.

The court heard the woman kept saying “no” and was pushing him as he tried to kiss her.

Gda Gray told Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that the incident lasted up to ten seconds. Then Cobzac got up and left the room, but returned to say he was sorry and wanted to be friends.

By this stage the woman was sitting on the floor with her back to the door to prevent him coming back in. She texted her friend to say what had happened and Cobzac was arrested the following day.

Gda Gray said Cobzac claimed that the woman had asked him for a hug and said she didn't want to do anything sexual because she had a partner. He admitted he had been drunk at the time and that the woman had made it clear to him she wanted him to stop.

The woman, in a victim impact statement referred to in court, said she was more afraid walking home at night and felt ashamed about the incident even though she didn't do anything wrong.

Gda Gray agreed with Luigi Rea BL, defending, that his client had not come to garda attention since. He accepted that Cobzac had told gardaí in interview that he had not been thinking straight during the incident.

Mr Rea submitted to Judge Melanie Greally that it was “a terrible fall from grace” for his client.

He asked the judge to take into consideration his client's early guilty plea and that his name is on the Sex Offenders Register.

Judge Greally noted from the victim impact report that although the incident was obviously “a deeply distressing and unpleasant event” and a “serious violation of a young woman” she seemed to have made a full recovery.

She further noted from a probation report that the officer accepted Cobzac's account that under the influence of alcohol he “misunderstood the situation” and “made a grave error of judgement”.

Judge Greally said that when Cobzac, realised that the woman didn't want sexual contact with him, “he desisted”.

She took into account the fact that Cobzac has no previous convictions, fully co-operated with the investigation and expressed remorse “both at the time of the offence and subsequently”.

Judge Greally suspended a two and half year sentence on strict conditions including that Cobzac remain under the supervision of the Probation Service for 12 months and complete one to one work to deal with his offending behaviour.

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