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'feeling empty' Karate champion sexually assaulted drunk student court hears

Kudzievi won a silver medal at the European karate championships


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A European karate champion sexually assaulted a drunk student on a city centre street after meeting her in a nightclub, a court has heard.

Bagrat Kudzievi (28) of Albert Rd., Cork city, was convicted last October after a trial of two counts of sexual assault of Rachel McElroy at locations in Cork city centre on the night of October 19, 2019. He had denied the charges.

Ms McElroy indicated to the court that she wished to be identified in reports of the case.

Detective Garda Donal Daly outlined to the court that Ms McIlroy had been drinking with friends and they had gone to a nightclub together.

He said CCTV showed the victim falling inside the venue and later struggling to walk once outside the venue. The court heard that she was in the smoking area of the club with her friends when she met the defendant and that seven minutes later he was leaving the venue with her.

Kudzievi walked Ms McElroy to an alcove where he sexually assaulted her. Dt Daly said Kudzievi became aware that some people were recording the pair on mobile phones and he lifted her up and carried her across a bridge and to a more secluded location nearby.

Dt Daly said that the Georgian national came to Ireland in 2018 and lived under a false Polish identity which he used to get a social security number. These false documents were found by gardaí investigating the sexual assaults and he was convicted of fraud offences last June.

He said that he has no other convictions here or in any other jurisdictions and has not otherwise come to garda attention since.

Tom Creed BL, defending, said both parties were drinking on the night and that the jury were asked to decide on the issue of the woman's competence to consent. He said if his client had not been drinking he may have acted with more inhibition.

He said Kudzievi was very proficient in karate and was formerly the national champion in Georgia as well as a silver medalist at European championships.

Reading from her victim impact statement, Ms McElroy told the Central Criminal Court that she remembers very little between being on the nightclub dance-floor and been in a garda station having her mouth swabbed.

“I had no idea where I was. I didn't even know who I was,” she told the court.

She said when her mother told her what had happened to her, the news left her crying for hours. She said the attacks left her feeling empty, disgusted and lacking in confidence.

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She said she dropped out of college, but has since returned to her studies and is “slowly putting my life together”.

“I hope to become stronger every day,” she said. She thanked her friends and family for their support and thanked the gardaí and lawyers who had helped her get justice.

Ms Justice Tara Burns said she wished to take some time to consider the appropriate custodial sentence and adjourned sentencing to November 22 next.

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