'blind drunk' | 

Six-month suspended sentence for truck driver who groped a woman in Dublin hotel

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By Tom Tuite

A TRUCK driver who groped a woman just after she checked into her hotel in Dublin has received a six-month suspended sentence.

Rafal Bendowski, 40, from Poland but of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to the sexual assault on September 3 at a Dublin city centre hotel.

Within the same 24-hour period, gardai had to deal with him in a second hotel where he was "blind drunk", stripped naked and defecated on a landing floor.

Dublin District Court heard that gardai spoke to the woman who reported that "shortly after checking in, she said she was walking to her room".

She was approached by a “lone male unknown to her who reached over her shoulder”.

The court heard Bendowski forcibly grabbed her by the breast and “walked away”.

He was identified from CCTV.

After he was charged, he was ordered to sign on regularly at a garda station, surrender his passport, and provide gardai with the number of his mobile phone on which he must remain contactable.

Defence barrister Donal Pattison told Judge Smyth that his client had handed over €2,000 in compensation which the victim had accepted.

She did not attend the sentencing hearing but provided a victim impact statement.

Mr Pattison said his client had remained in the jurisdiction for the duration of the case despite a family bereavement.

References were handed into court, which also heard he was active in the Polish community and catholic church here. He has worked around Europe, and following a visit to relatives in Poland, he plans to return to Ireland.

Pleading for leniency, the barrister said Bendowski consumed alcohol at the time of the attack but has "vastly reduced his alcohol intake".

The accused listened to the proceedings with the aid of an interpreter and instructed counsel to give a sincere apology to the victim.

Judge Smyth remarked that the amount of alcohol taken did not excuse his actions which merited a custodial sentence.

He imposed six-months' imprisonment; however, he suspended it provided Bendowski keeps the peace and does not re-offend for two years.

He had no prior criminal convictions. However, in November, the court gave him the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act for criminal damage at the St George Hotel on Parnell Square East in Dublin, which also happened on September 3.

In that case, the court heard "blind drunk" Bendowski "was naked in the hallways and had defecated on the carpet outside his room". He paid €200 to cover the clean-up cost.

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