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pub groper Sexual assault victim blasts court decision to allow attacker walk free after charity donation

Former Algerian soldier Nourden Belarbi sexually assaulted the two women in a Dublin bar on October 14, 2018.


Nourden Belarbi grabbed two women in the Dublin pub.

Nourden Belarbi grabbed two women in the Dublin pub.

Nourden Belarbi grabbed two women in the Dublin pub.

A victim of a pub groper who walked free from court after agreeing to make a €100 donation to the Rape Crisis Centre has blasted the judgement as an insult to her and the other complainant.

Former Algerian soldier Nourden Belarbi sexually assaulted the two women in a Dublin bar on October 14, 2018.

The 32-year-old was chased away by the first victim when he grabbed her breast and then had a drink thrown over him by the second woman when he groped her bottom.

But he was spared a criminal conviction at Dublin District Court this week after Judge Colin Daly dismissed the charges under the Probation Act on condition he pay €100 to the Rape Crisis Centre.

In her only public comments since the verdict, one of Belarbi's victims told the Sunday World she felt the judgement was outdated and would "deter victims from coming forward."

In a statement to the Sunday World, she said: "The outcome of the case is extremely disappointing. For the judge to issue a €100 fine is an absolute insult to me, to the other victim in this case and to the investigating gardai.

"It shows how out of touch with reality he [the judge] is.

"You'll be aware that myself and one other victim came forward and reported him that night.

"But having spoken to security staff in the bar that same evening, I understand that he approached at least five or six other women and that this was also captured on the pub's CCTV.

"It's also my understanding that the CCTV footage was not shown during the hearing.

"I am not sure of the reason for this.

"I have to commend the gardai for how they handled the incident and the subsequent investigation.

"They were very supportive and professional.

"But I'm sure it's very frustrating for them to bring a case like this before the courts only to have a judge be so lenient.

"These types of assaults are all too common.

"Having shared my experience with a number of friends, it's apparent to me that the vast majority have encountered such unwanted attention on nights out and even in the workplace.

"The majority went unreported.

"Even though the judgement in this case was not the outcome I had hoped for, I am still glad that I pursued the matter.

"That man had no right to put his hands on me or anyone else and no one should have to put up with such behaviour while simply trying to enjoy a night out.

"It's just a dreadful shame that the judiciary are so outdated in their thinking as, in my opinion, outcomes such as in this case only deter victims from coming forward.

"Some sort of specialist training in this area for judges is well overdue otherwise we will continue to see such ridiculous judgements."

At this week's hearing, the court heard how the incidents happened at a pub in the north of the city on October 14, 2018.

Neither of the victims knew the accused.

Having read a probation report, Judge Daly said Belarbi was described as being at the lowest possible risk for this type of offending, and as having "learned a valuable lesson".

The accused had lost his job initially but was now working again as a warehouse operative, his solicitor Colleen Gildernew said.

At a previous hearing, the court was told the first woman (41) was out socialising with friends when she was approached by the accused. He proceeded to grab her breast and she became upset and chased him away.

Belarbi then went to another area in the same pub and approached a second woman.

The first victim observed what happened and approached the second woman and told her "she too had been assaulted," a garda sergeant said.

The woman approached security staff and told them Belarbi had sexually assaulted her.

One of the security staff had witnessed the first assault and contacted the gardai.

Belarbi was escorted to the front door and the gardai arrived.

The court heard both victims had alcohol taken but were not intoxicated, while Belarbi was "slightly intoxicated" at the time.

Judge Daly said victim impact statements were "very hard-hitting and eloquent" and the women were "very severely affected by what happened".

Belarbi was "incredibly apologetic" and "felt badly" about what happened, Ms Gildernew said.

The accused had come to Ireland from Algeria, where he had spent much of his adult life in the army, Ms Gildernew said.

He had been treated for PTSD after leaving the army and was granted asylum here.

Following Monday's judgement former Social Protection minister and current leader of the Seanad, Regina Doherty, condemned the outcome of the court proceedings.

Following Monday's hearing, she tweeted: "Judge said perpetrator had learned a valuable lesson - what lesson was that?

"That you can grope two women and get away with a donation to charity of €100.

"Is it any wonder women don't report this type of crime?"

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