Syrian refugee jailed for 3 years for rape of unconscious, intoxicated woman in Northern Ireland

By Thomas Brooke
4 Min Read

A Syrian refugee found guilty of committing the “deplorable” rape of an unconscious, intoxicated woman in Northern Ireland has been sentenced to just three years in prison.

Ahmad Alsbaihi, 22, was sentenced at Belfast Crown Court on Monday after eventually pleading guilty to the sexual attack on his victim following compelling testimony from a female witness.

The court heard how Alsbaihi and another male had approached the victim on June 22, 2022, at a nightclub in Belfast city center and invited her back to a house party.

Eyewitness testimony from another female at the nightclub said the woman was extremely drunk and the witness had “concerns about her vulnerability.”

After ascertaining from the woman that she did not know the men, the witness opted to accompany her to the house party.

In the early hours of the morning, the witness testified that she saw Alshaihi “having sex” with the victim on the living room floor. The victim’s “eyes were closed and she was completely asleep,” the court was told.

The two men then rushed to redress the woman and placed her on the sofa.

Alsbaihi was confronted by the female witness who insisted the victim had consented to sexual intercourse before falling asleep. The witness then phoned the police.

Following an examination by paramedics, the victim had no recollection of the sexual assault. A blood reading suggested she could have had up to 525 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood at the time of the attack. For context, the drink-driving limit in Northern Ireland is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood

Despite initially denying the rape and insisting the sex was consensual, Alsbaihi later told police he felt “disgusted” by what he had done and admitted guilt.

In mitigation, his defense counsel noted his client’s lack of a criminal record in Northern Ireland, his remorse, and claimed he had suffered “poor mental health” after fleeing his war-torn homeland back in 2017.

When passing sentence, Judge Mark McGarrity told the defendant it must have been “obvious” to him that his victim was “entirely helpless and defenseless.”

“The evidence reveals that she was so incapacitated that she had no awareness of what had been inflicted upon her. She was, I consider, highly vulnerable to the defendant’s deplorable actions.

“He nonetheless displayed a callous and wicked disregard for her,” the judge added.

He further praised the victim’s bravery, and that of the witness “for playing her part in making sure the victim in this case got justice.”

Alsbaihi was given a six-year sentence serving three years in prison and three years on license. He will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register and will be subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) for 10 years.

Commenting on the sentencing, Detective Constable Donnelly said, “Ahmad Alsbaihi took advantage of a vulnerable woman.

“His actions were callous, with total disregard to consent. There is no defense for disregarding sexual consent. Without consent, it is rape.

“We would like to commend a passer-by who intervened, and the victim for her bravery in working with detectives throughout the investigation.”

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