Trial of man accused of raping a woman seeking asylum reaches closing stages

Man pleads not guilty to charges of rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault

The accused met the woman through a mosque service for people seeking marriage. File photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

The accused met the woman through a mosque service for people seeking marriage. File photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

 

The trial of a man accused of raping a woman he had been introduced to though his mosque has reached its final stages at the Central Criminal Court.

The trial has already heard that the 36-year-old woman sought asylum in Ireland to avoid an arranged marriage in her native country.

The complainant has testified that after a ceremony took place between her and the accused, the man took her back to his flat and raped her a number of times over the course of three days.

The 54-year-old accused told gardaí on arrest that the woman’s allegations were “lies” and they had taken part in a ceremony called Nikah which he said is “a freedom to have a sexual relationship with a blessing from the mosque” but not a legally binding marriage.

He said that over the course of that weekend he and the complainant had sex a number of times and claimed that on occasion the complainant instigated it.

He told gardaí that the woman told him she came to Ireland because the immigration laws here were weak. He suggested that the reason she said he had raped her was because it would mean she could stay in Ireland while it was being investigated.

The man told gardaí that when he was first introduced to the woman, he said she said she wanted marriage and babies and claimed that she proposed to him. He said he told her his divorce had not come through so he could not marry her.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape, one of sexual assault and one of attempted rape of the woman in his Dublin home on various occasions over the weekend of December 1st to December 3rd, 2017.

The woman earlier testified that on a visit to Ireland in November 2017 she decided to seek asylum here in order to flee from an arranged marriage in her home country.

She travelled to Dublin to file an application with the International Protection Office. She was told about a particular centre who could help her and a contact in this centre then told her about a mosque in Dublin.

She said she became aware that there was a service that was provided to the Muslim community where they could arrange meetings between people who were interested in getting married. She was introduced to the accused through this mosque and they met a number of times.

The jury has been addressed by barristers from both the prosecution and defence are currently being charged in relation to the law by Justice Alex Owens. The jury are expected to retire on Thursday to consider its verdict.