Prisoner who harassed ex-girlfriend may have breached ruling

A man who had part of his three-year jail term suspended in a harassment case in which he sent a thousand emails to his ex-girlfriend may have breached the terms of the sentence with alleged attempts to contact her from prison.

Ali Arafa: Serving a sentence for harassment. Picture: Dan Linehan
Ali Arafa: Serving a sentence for harassment. Picture: Dan Linehan

The case against Ali Arafa, an Egyptian national, was re-entered at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday. He is serving a sentence for harassment of a Cork woman by persistent phonecalls and threats.

She received 1,000 missed calls and 1,000 emails from him long after the relationship had ended.

In November 2016, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin jailed Arafa for three years, backdating the sentence to August, as he had been in custody since then. The last two years were suspended on condition that he would stay away from the complainant and have no contact with her.

Detective Garda Eamon Feehan said authorities in Wheatfield alerted gardaí to the fact that Arafa had attempted to have a letter posted to the woman from prison.

Arafa also applied to have her number put on an approved list of numbers that he would be allowed to call from prison, the detective told the court.

The third alleged breach was that a relative sent an invoice on the defendant’s behalf to the complainant for work he had done for her in the past.

Ray Boland, defending, and Donal O’Sullivan, for the prosecution, said the sentence was being appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said that because of the appeal, he would have the fresh evidence of alleged breaches recorded. The matter could then be brought to the attention of the Court of Criminal Appeal, he said.

In the original sentencing hearing last year, Judge Ó Donnabháin said: “This is an alarming case; the length of time over which the harassment took place, the nature of the harassment, and the repeated continuous nature of the phone calls.

“What takes it on to a different level is his entering or being at her apartment [months after the relationship had ended] — that is a serious escalation in the harassment.

“Also what is worrying me is his reaction to the guard, which was alarming, saying: ‘Tell the bitch I will smash her face.’ They are worrying aspects.”

Judge Ó Donnabháin said that Arafa’s insight into his offending behaviour was limited.

Det Garda Feehan said last November that, even when Arafa was remanded in custody in the case at that time, he sent five letters to the woman. There was nothing threatening in those letters, which were vetted by prison authorities before being sent.

The latest letter he allegedly tried to send was also devoid of any threatening content and was reportedly apologetic in nature.

In a letter to court in November, Arafa said: “Love made me do some crazy stuff. I never mean to annoy her when I ring her that much.”


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