Algerian man accused of sexually assaulting 'lone, vulnerable' woman twice in Cork City
A young woman walking home alone in Cork City was approached “in a calculated manner” by a man who sexually assaulted her twice at two different locations.
These were the allegations made by Detective Garda Kevin Hastings of the Divisional Protective Services Unit, as he objected to bail being granted to the accused man, 46-year-old Saadallah Ghoumrassi, who is from Algeria and living at temporary accommodation in Cork City.
Judge Olann Kelleher said he was prepared to grant bail to the accused, but that he would have to move to another location as the gardaí were concerned that he was living too close to the complainant.
Other bail conditions require him to keep a curfew to be home between 9pm and 8am each night, sign on three days a week at the Bridewell Garda Station, stay away from the area where the complainant lives, surrender his passport, abstain from intoxicants, and provide his mobile phone number to gardaí.
Det Garda Hastings alleged that the 21-year-old woman was in a vulnerable condition as she walked home from the city centre after midnight on December 3, 2021.
“He approached her and attempted to interact with her. She rejected his conversation," Det Garda Hastings said.
“She later fell on the ground and again he interacted with her. He picked her up and placed his hand in her groin area and her buttocks outside her clothes.
“He then escorted her up the road and into a dark laneway where he pinned her against the wall, kissed her and cupped her breast outside her clothing again.
“It is alleged that this second sexual assault ceased when light from a passing car lit up the laneway.
“Given the nature of the evidence, it is believed by gardaí that he may come in contact with the injured party again. Gardaí have concerns he will abscond. He has no ties to the jurisdiction and he could commit further offences if granted bail.
“She made a detailed statement of complaint. And there is extensive CCTV coverage of the areas,” Det Garda Hastings said.
It is alleged that the accused is seen interacting with the young woman who walks away and falls approximately 100m away, where he picks her up off the ground, and that he escorts her down a dark laneway a further 500m from there.
“It is a calculated approach to a lone, vulnerable female. Gardaí believe he is a danger to members of the community,” Det Garda Hastings testified.
Eddie Burke, defence solicitor, applied for bail and said the alleged incident was denied by the accused man and that he was interviewed about it in January and had made no attempt to leave the country in the meantime, even though he was well aware of the allegations against him.
“He has not gone underground,” Mr Burke said. Judge Olann Kelleher said he accepted there were garda concerns in the matter and he did not want the accused living near the complainant.
He was remanded on bail to appear again at Cork District Court in a week’s time. An Arabic interpreter was present for the bail application and will be required again next week.