The Royal Court has recommended that a 48-year-old repeat sex offender be deported at the end of the 12-month sentence they imposed after he touched a woman’s breasts without her consent at her place of work.
Mohammed Ben Fradj, a Tunisian national, appeared before the Royal Court on Friday facing one count of sexual touching without consent.
The Court heard that at the time of the incident, which took place in the autumn last year, Ben-Fradj was on the Sex Offenders' Register for an offence in 2016.
Pictured: Ben Fradj touched the woman without her consent at her place of work.
Summing up the facts for the most recent offence, Crown Advocate Chris Baglin said Ben-Fradj had struck up a conversation with the victim, whom he had never met, at her place of work.
After making what the Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, described as “inappropriate sexual remarks”, Ben-Fradj stood behind the woman, put his arms under her armpits and touched her breasts on top of her clothing. Then, he moved his hands up the side of her body in a “rubbing motion” before cupping the woman’s breasts in his hands and pushing them together.
The victim said Ben-Fradj appeared drunk as he was “swaying on the spot, slurring his words and had blood shot eyes”.
After the victim removed his hands and shouted at him to get out, Ben-Fradj said he would come back. 15 minutes later, he did so but stayed outside. When confronted about the incident by two men who had spoken to the victim, Ben-Fradj denied having entered the building, whilst saying sorry.
He said he was “getting shelter from the rain” but the Court heard it had not been raining.
The woman said the incident had caused her a lot of stress and made her worry about Ben-Fradj coming back to her place of work.
Pictured: Advocate Adam Harrison was representing Ben-Fradj.
The Crown Advocate said the author of a Social Enquiry Report hadn’t recommended a community service order as previous work done with Ben-Fradj had had “little impact”. He added that Ben-Fradj had been assessed at a high risk of sexual reoffending.
He therefore moved for a 14-month prison sentence and asked for Ben-Fradj's name to remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register for six years as well as for his deportation to be recommended.
Advocate Adam Harrison, defending, told Court that Ben-Fradj couldn’t recall the incident or offer any explanation for it, safe for the fact he had drank too much alcohol.
He rejected the view that the incident had been prolonged, as suggested by the Crown Advocate, describing it instead as “very short”.
“The fact that it was not a passing touch does not mean it was prolonged or sustained,” the lawyer said. “The incident ended as soon as she moved his hands.”
The Court heard Ben-Fradj’s ex-wife had provided a letter of reference on his behalf, describing him as “a good and kind man”. “The letter shows there is another side to his character,” Advocate Harrison said.
The defence lawyer urged the Court not to recommend Ben-Fradj's deportation, although he said his client “appreciated there are ground to conclude his continued presence could be detrimental”. He said Ben-Fradj had recognised he should abstain from drinking alcohol and was confident he could do so.
In addition, Advocate Harrison said Ben-Fradj had a good working record, having worked in the island for 10 years, while his future in Tunisia was “very limited”.
Pictured: The Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, was sitting with Jurats Charles Blampied and Elizabeth Dulake.
Returning the Court’s sentence, the Bailiff, who was sitting with Jurats Charles Blampied and Elizabeth Dulake, said the incident must have been an “unpleasant experience for the victim”, adding that the Court fully understood how it made her feel fearful.
He said that while Ben-Fradj had a “strange attitude to his offending” the Court had noted his expression of remorse.
The Court moved for a 12-month sentence and agreed with the Crown Advocate’s suggestion that Ben-Fradj's name remain on the register for six years.
The Bailiff added that while Ben-Fradj hoped to reconcile with his ex-wife, those considerations were outweighed by the detriment his continued presence in the island would cause and recommended his deportation at the end of the sentence.
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