A Lebanese convicted sex offender with an Australian address, who attacked four women over two days while he was in Ireland attending a wedding, has been sentenced to two years in prison by Judge Katherine Delahunt.
Yousef Saad (aged 38) with an address at Moneeth Street, Sydney lived with the Irish UN peace keeping mission as a young child in the Lebanon after his mother died when he was eight years old. An Irish army officer then brought him to Ireland to live with his family where he stayed until he was 21 years old.
He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexually assaulting the women in different areas of the city on July 24 and July 26, 2006.
Garda Keith Fitzpatrick told Ms Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that Saad had no previous convictions in Ireland but through Interpol he learned he had a number of sexual related convictions in America and Australia, including sexual assault and indecent exposure.
Ms Anne Marie Lawlor BL, for Saad, told Judge Delahunt, that he had made a statement to gardaí claiming he was sexually abused both in the Lebanon and in Ireland by a "very senior member of the Irish Army who is currently also facing charges of sexually assaulting other younger soldiers".
Judge Delahunt said that Saad’s crimes represented "a rampage of assaults against four innocent women who were going about their business and who had no connection or knowledge of you". She said it was an unusual case because there was no reasoning behind the attacks.
Judge Delahunt added that Saad was fortunate that gardaí acted very quickly and before serious damage had been done but said that while she didn’t want to underestimate the effects on the victims, the crimes were at the lower end of the scale.
She accepted evidence that Saad had been sexually abused but said that "there are unfortunately others who have been treated in the same way and they don’t go out abusing young women."
Judge Delahunt suspended the last six months of the sentence on condition that Saad leave the jurisdiction on his release from prison because she had "significant concerns" about him remaining in Ireland.
Ms Lawlor said Saad had €4,000 in court to give each of his four victims €1,000 but one woman didn’t want to accept it because she felt it represented a "payoff".
Judge Delahunt ordered that this €1,000 should go to the Rape Crisis Centre.
Gda Fitzpatrick said Saad asked each of the women for directions and then followed them, grabbed them from behind and assaulted them by either touching their breasts or their vagina outside their clothing.
Gda Fitzpatrick said that one woman was on her way to work at 5.55am when Saad pulled up in an Opel Vectra car and asked her for directions. She told gardaí that she found it strange when he started smiling and drove off before she completed her instructions.
The woman continued walking along the road when Saad pulled her from behind and grabbed her by the waist. He put his hands on her vagina outside her trousers and pulled her into his groin.
She fought with him and screamed when he started to drag her before he let her go and ran away.
Gda Linda Williams said that Saad stopped a Polish woman on her way home from work late at night to ask her directions. She gave them and continued home and had just closed the main door of her home behind her when she heard Saad knocking on it. She answered the door and found he was sweating and out of breath.
He accused her of giving him the wrong directions and when she started to redirect him, he grabbed her hands and pulled them behind her back and tried to force her back into the building. She screamed and fought with him and he ran away.
Gda Williams said Saad also attacked a Spanish woman twice, having also followed her after asking for directions. He grabbed her breasts and vagina very roughly the first time.
She screamed and he ran away but he grabbed her a second time and again groped her breasts before running off again after telling her that she was "very beautiful".
A fifth woman was grabbed by Saad after he again asked for directions. He grabbed her breasts with both hands and when she fought to push him away, he tried to hug her and told her she was "lovely" before running away.
Gda Fitzpatrick agreed with Ms Lawlor that Saad had been in custody since July 2006 and was therefore separated from his wife and two children.
He said he was aware that Saad had grown "very attached" to the Irish soldiers in the UN peace keeping mission in the Lebanon and had returned to Ireland to live with an army officer and his family.