by Ruaidhrí Giblin
A man jailed for 13 years for raping a young woman with Down syndrome is seeking an extension of time to bring an appeal against his conviction and sentence.
Faisal Ellahi, originally from Haripur in Pakistan, had pleaded not guilty to rape, sexual assault and having sex with a mentally impaired person at his home in Dublin on June 12, 2013.
A jury at the Central Criminal Court convicted him of the rape and sexual assault charge.
Sentencing him to 13 years imprisonment in March 2016, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the “frightening, appalling, disgusting and depraved” offence committed by Ellahi had "demolished" years of work in helping the woman lead an independent life.
The judge complimented the victim's mother on her dignity and fortitude in meeting the case and wished the family well in the future as they seek to restore the woman to her independence.
Ellahi lodged an appeal against his conviction and sentence one year and seven months outside of the 28-day limit provided for criminals to lodge an appeal.
Barrister Lorcan Staines, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the State would take an hour to argue against granting Ellahi an extension of time to appeal.
Mr Justice George Birmingham fixed July 17 next as the date for hearing.
Ellahi was not in court for the procedural matter.
The Central Criminal Court heard that the woman was out with her mother that day but that they became separated.
In her interviews, the woman said a man found her on the street and pushed her into a corner before saying “come with me.” She said the man told her he was going to help her before taking her by the hand to a house.
“He didn't help me. I was confused and scared and sick.”
The court heard evidence from 16 women who were approached by Ellahi in the area around the time of the rape.
One woman who lived across the road from him said he tried to force his way inside her home after she returned from a night out.
Ellahi gave evidence in his own defence in which he admitted propositioning many women as he walked the streets near his Dublin home. He said he would stop women and ask them to come home with him for “consensual fun”. He said he also used prostitutes.
During his evidence, Ellahi admitted “sexual contact” with the special needs victim but denied penetrative sex and claimed that he didn't know she had a mental impairment. He said she looked “normal” to him and that she enjoyed herself.
He said he never heard of Down syndrome until his arrest. He said in his native country people with mental impairments were kept at home or in hospitals and that they wore name badges to indicate they were disabled.
Ellahi moved to Ireland in 2005 where he found work as a security guard. He was unemployed at the time of the rape and spent his days walking the streets, the court heard.