A man has been convicted of raping a woman with Down Syndrome after luring her back to his house.
Faisal Ellahi, 34, was also found guilty by a jury of sexual assault. The jury took two and a half hours to return the guilty verdicts following a five-week trial.
During the trial the jury saw DVDs of interviews with the victim, who is in her 20s, in which she said she became separated from her mother on street before being stopped by Ellahi. He then took her to his house where the rape and sexual assault occurred.
Ellahi, who is originally from Haripur in Pakistan, pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape, sexual assault and having sex with a mentally impaired person at his Dublin home on June 12, 2013.
The jury was not required to deliberate on the third count if it convicted of rape.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt told the jurors their verdict was “absolutely correct” and that Ellahi's claim that the woman consented to the acts was “absolutely ludicrous”.
“He attempted to deceive you, as he did others, and fool you, but you didn't fall for it,” he told jurors.
Referring to the victim and her family, the judge said the said the case was an example of how “very bad things can happen to very good people”.
The judge later described the trial as the most difficult case he had ever dealt with. He was visibly moved as he addressed the jurors for a final time before excusing them from jury duty for 20 years.
The victim's family wept and hugged as the verdict came in. There was no reaction from Ellahi.
Mr Justice Hunt heard the victim's family want the matter dealt with as soon as possible. He set a sentence date for January 18, 2016 and said that he hopes the authorities will deport Ellahi after his sentence is complete.
The trial heard that the victim told a specialist interviewer that Ellahi locked the door behind them and that she was afraid he was going to stab or kill her. “I wanted to go home but he wouldn't let me,” she said.
At one point she panicked and started banging on the door screaming “help, mum, help.”
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.
The court heard evidence from 16 women who were approached by Ellahi in the area around the time of the rape. One women who lived across the road from him said he tried to force his way inside her home after she returned from a night out.
During his evidence Ellahi admitted “sexual contact” with the 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 are kept at home or in hospitals and that they wear name badges to indicate they are 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, he said.
A psychologist for the defence, Dr Rioghnach O'Leary said Ellahi comes from an area of Pakistan where Sharia law is practised and where there are strict rules against physical contact between men and women.
She presented evidence that he was in the bottom three percent of the population in cognitive functioning and as a result “would have difficulty in adapting to social norms” in Ireland. However because of time constraints, no “lie scale” testing was carried out which would show if the subject was attempting to skew the results of the intelligence tests.
The doctor also said that he showed an elevated sexual preoccupation and that he had a “singular focus on women as potential sexual partners.”
Caroline Biggs SC, prosecuting, presented Ellahi's CV which was found in his flat. This stated that he graduated an advanced IT course and held a degree in business administration court.
Ellahi claimed he falsified the CV so he could get a job.
At the start of the trial Ellahi's defence counsel Padraig Dwyer SC made an application to examine the victim on her past sexual history. He sought permission to question her on if she had kissed somebody before or had a boyfriend. Mr Justice Hunt refused permission on the basis that it was not relevant.
The trial heard that the woman has a mental age as low as seven in some areas and that she requires supervision to do everything except wash and dress. An assessment found that he could not live independently or protect herself against serious exploitation.