Trial of man alleged to have intimidated woman into getting married to stranger collapses

The trial of a man alleged to have intimidated a woman into getting married to a stranger has collapsed on its opening day.

Yasir Ali (31) of Lighthouse Apartments, East Wall, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to coercion in apartments in Ballinrobe and Hollymount, both in Co. Mayo, on a date between January 1, 2015, and July 7, 2015.

Judge Patricia Ryan discharged the jury on the afternoon of the trial's opening day after the barrister for the State received instructions to end the prosecution.

At the beginning of the trial, Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, told the jury that the prosecution's case was not that Mr Ali was the “brains of the operation”, but that he played an important part in intimidating the complainant.

Gabriele Bielyjyte told Mr Coffey that she came to Ireland from Lithuania in 2015 after a man promised her she could work in his takeaway. She said she peeled potatoes in the restaurant but she was not paid for her work.

Ms Bielyjyte said that the man took away her birth certificate and the national identification card she had used to travel to Ireland. She said she lived in the apartment that the man had brought her to along with other girls from Lithuania.

She said that Mr Ali would visit the apartment in the evenings and bring her food. She said she was told by Mr Ali and the other man that she was not allowed to leave the apartment because they did not want the neighbours to see her.

Ms Bielyjyte said that after a few weeks of living in Ireland the man who brought her to Ireland said there was a person she had never met who wanted to get married and that he would pay her to marry this stranger. She said she was “confused and shocked” and that she “cried a lot”.

She said she told both the man and Mr Ali that she did not want to get married. She said that the man and the girls she lived with pressured her into getting married, but she did not recall if Mr Ali did so as well.

Ms Bielyjyte said that Mr Ali talked about her getting married to the stranger, but that she did not remember what he said. She said that she had been in a relationship with Mr Ali that had come to an end when he started seeing another woman.

Shortly after lunch, Mr Coffey told the judge that he had received instructions from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution to enter a nolle prosequi. Judge Ryan explained to the jury that meant the case was no longer going ahead and she discharged the jury.

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