Man gets 13 years' jail for raping woman with Down syndromeMonday 14 March 2016 23.54
A 34-year-old man has been sentenced to 13 years in jail for raping a young woman with Down syndrome after luring her back to his house.
Faisal Ellahi was also found guilty of sexually assaulting the woman after a five-week trial last year.
Ellahi, who is originally from Haripur in Pakistan, had pleaded not guilty last year at the Central Criminal Court to rape and sexual assault at his Dublin home on 12 June 2013.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt described the case as one of the most difficult he had ever dealt with and said it was impossible to suppress feelings of anger and disgust.
In passing sentence, he said aggravating factors could not be airbrushed out of the case. He said these factors were the victim's intellectual disability and her inability to cope with new situations and the fact that her coping strategies to deal with such an ordeal would be limited.
He said she was dehumanised by the experience and the courts were entitled to reflect the outrage that society would feel when someone like her was assaulted.
"One cannot underestimate the personal impact this has had on her and her family", the judge said.
He said all the work on her independence, education and her job were all blown away for "a couple of minutes of instant gratification and what is so bitter is that to him it meant so little that a couple of minutes after she arrived home he was out prowling again in the area and that is one of the most depressing aspects of this case".
The judge complimented the jury for vindicating the victim with their verdict.
He also said he hoped Ellahi would be deported immediately after his sentence was served "without his feet ever touching the ground".
The woman had been walking with her mother in Dublin on 12 June 2013, when they became separated.
She told a specialist interviewer that Ellahi found her and brought her back to his house. He locked the door and she was afraid he would stab or kill her.
He then raped and assaulted her. She said she felt scared and sick. He told her not to tell anyone. She ran home and was banging on the door of her house shouting for help. Her family described her as being hysterical, white as a sheet and shaking.
16 women gave evidence that they had been approached by Ellahi in the area in the days and months before and after this rape.
In garda interviews, Ellahi denied he had brought anyone back to his flat on the date concerned and denied ever meeting the victim. He repeatedly told the gardaí to bring "this woman" in front of him. He said: "I want this woman to stand in front of me."
The jury took two and a half hours to reach their guilty verdicts. Mr Justice Hunt said their decision was absolutely correct and Ellahi's claim that the woman had consented or was capable of consenting was absolutely ludicrous.
The trial heard that the woman has a mental age as low as seven in some areas and that she requires supervision to do everything except wash and dress.
An assessment found that he could not live independently or protect herself against serious exploitation.
Giving victim-impact evidence at the sentencing hearing of Ellahi, the woman's mother said her daughter had been innocent, carefree and trusting and was now scared, worried and confused. She was fearful of strangers and still feels unsafe more than two and a half years after the rape.
She said her daughter who is in her 20s had slept with her for six months following the attack and had had several seizures following the attack and during the trial which had been diagnosed as being due to serious trauma.
A psychologist for the defence, Dr Rioghnach O'Leary, said Ellahi was in the bottom 3% of the population in cognitive functioning and as a result "would have difficulty in adapting to social norms" in Ireland.
He has an IQ level of 73 where below 70 indicates a mental disability.
The doctor's assessment of Ellahi's IQ could not be used for the purposes of mitigation after conviction because, due to time constraints, it did not include "lie scale" testing which would show if the subject was attempting to skew the results of the intelligence tests.
Judge Hunt said the appropriate sentence was 15 years but he would allow two years off that for the limited mitigating factors.
The sentence has been back dated to June 2013 when he first went into custody.