An Algerian man who was accused of being part of a group that groped a woman in Cologne, on New Year’s Eve, has been cleared of attempted sexual assault, but convicted of handling stolen goods.
The 26-year-old was the first person to go on trial for a sexual offence regarding the new year events, which heightened tensions over Germany’s migrant influx.
However, the victim of the assault didn’t recognise him and the Cologne regional court ruled there was no proof that the man was one of of the alleged assailants.
Over 1,000 criminal complaints were filed in Cologne, largely blaming foreigners, with several hundred alleging sexual offences. Several suspects have been convicted of theft.
The suspect, whose name hasn’t been released, in keeping with German privacy rules, was accused of being in a group of 10 men who surrounded and groped a woman in the train station, and of stealing her phone.
He also was charged with attempted theft on December 13, when he and another man were accused of trying to break into a car.
The woman’s phone was found on the suspect, but he said he had bought it from an acquaintance.
The defendant was convicted of handling stolen goods and of the attempted car break-in, and was given a six-month suspended sentence.
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