Garda Paul Newport said Mina Fanous, aged 35, had turned up at the apartment he had lived in and told the flatmate he had rights as a tenant before hitting her with the belt.
His defence counsel submitted he had come to Ireland after his wife and child we killed in a bomb in Alexandria, although there was no documentation to prove this.
Fanous, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Jiagua Chen causing her harm, stealing her Samsung phone, and causing criminal damage to her laptop at Time Place, Corrig Rd, Sandyford, Dublin, on April 20, 2015. He has one previous minor theft conviction for which he was fined.
The case had been adjourned twice and Fanous was allowed out on bail to gather documentation to prove his claim of the bomb attack and his rights of access to the apartment.
Yesterday, Fiona Pekaar, defending, handed in an email that proved that Fanous was still entitled to live in the apartment at the time of the assault.
Counsel said her client also had a case pending with an employment tribunal relating to what he claimed was an unfair dismissal from his position with Dell.
Judge Melanie Greally acknowledged that Fanous was “lawfully entitled” to remain in the apartment at the time.
“This perhaps contributed to your sense of grievance and may in some way explain your deplorable conduct that day,” said the judge.
She noted from his interview with gardaí that he believed he was defending himself and his rights and claimed that he had been punched but described these admissions as “far from unequivocal”.
Judge Greally said Fanous had “experienced a considerably tragic event” but noted there was no documentation in court to support this.
She imposed an 18-month sentence but suspended the balance, having taken into account the time Fanous had spent in custody awaiting sentence.