A Chinese man will be sentenced next week after he was caught by gardaí raping an Irish college student in a laneway.
The court heard that the woman had left her friends in a nightclub and was walking home when Hong Zhi Yang (aged 23) took her into the laneway and attempted to rape her.
A person living in a nearby flat, heard the woman’s screams, looked out the window and saw Yang attacking the victim. He told the man to get off her and contacted the gardaí.
Yang then dragged the woman further up the lane and raped her. Gardaí arrived on the scene minutes later and witnessed the attack. Yang tried to run away but was immediately caught by gardaí.
Detective Sergeant Paul Tallon agreed with a comment from Mr Justice Paul Carney that such a crime is “uncharacteristic of the Chinese community here”.
“Well I have never come across it before,” the Det Sgt said.
He said when gardaí arrived the victim was semi-naked, crying and huddled on the ground next to a parked car. Her clothes and jewellery were scattered along the laneway and she was initially too upset to talk to gardaí. She had small injuries to her face and back.
Yang of Camden Street, Dublin 2, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to raping the woman in the city centre on October 29, 2010. He has no previous convictions either here or in China and had arrived in Ireland to study English the previous August.
Det Sgt Tallon told John O’ Kelly SC, prosecuting that Yang and the woman were complete strangers but Yang claimed in interview that the sex had been consensual and that he loved the woman.
He told gardaí that he fled when they arrived on the scene because he had been having sex in a public place.
Det Sgt Tallon read the woman’s victim impact statement in which she said she found it really difficult to talk to people about what had happened and lost some close friends as a result.
She said it put “massive strain and pressure” on her relationship with her boyfriend and when she told her family about it she didn’t know how to put into words that she had been raped.
Det Sgt Tallon said the victim now needs to be “completely aware of her surroundings” and will no longer listen to music or read a book when she is travelling. She also had to defer her college exams.
Yang told Mr Justice Carney he had deep feelings of regret for what happened that night and was truly remorseful.
“I cannot express how ashamed I am. I can only hope that the woman can go on to live a life free from fear and anxiety,” Yang said before he apologised to the gardaí and everyone involved in the legal system.
His counsel Denis Vaughan Buckley SC, read a letter addressed to Mr Justice Carney in which Yang stated that he had ten drinks that night, while the most he had ever drank in China was one beer.
He said he was not offering this as an excuse but wanted the court to understand that his actions were out of character.
“I am sick to the stomach,” Yang wrote “I have never hurt a human being before.” He said he has brought dishonour to his family and great shame to his name.
“I know I cannot undo my mistake,” he said adding that he will return to China as soon as he served his prison sentence.
Yang’s sister said that her parents were in court to support their son and this trip was the first time they left China.
She apologised to the victim and her family and asked Mr Justice Carney for leniency.
She said her brother had come to Ireland to study English the August before the rape. She said he has since learned English and sat a leaving certificate maths exam while on remand in prison.
Mr Justice Carney remanded Yang in continuing custody and adjourned the case to next Monday for sentence.