Asylum seeker gets 80 hours community service following Longford town incident

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Tipperary District Court

An asylum seeker has been given 80 hours of community service in lieu of a one month sentence after appearing at Longford District Court charged with assault.

Abed Pelewe, Room 207 Richmond Court, Richmond Street, Longford, appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes last week charged with assaulting a female in December of last year.

Sgt Gary Loughrey for the State explained that on December 1, 2018, the female victim, who did not wish to give evidence, was attending her work Christmas party.

At approximately 12.30am on December 2, she was walking up Main Street and turned onto Dublin Street where she saw the accused.

Mr Pelewe asked the lady if she could point him in the direction of Tesco, which she did before walking on.

“He followed her and asked about Tesco again. He kept following her. At the Cathedral she crossed the road and he crossed the road after her,” said Sgt Loughrey.

“She asked him to stop following her and he asked her to go to Tesco Car Park with him.

“She got to Lidl and there was a truck parked there. She turned and faced the accused and asked him why he was following her. He pushed her shoulder to tell her to keep walking.”

The victim reported to Gardaí that the accused produced what she thought was a knife, but he ran away when a taxi passed.

A charge for possession of a knife was struck out due to lack of proof, and CCTV footage later showed that the car was a squad car and not a taxi as the victim had thought.

Sgt Loughrey explained to Judge Hughes that the victim has not been to Longford town since the incident.

Defence solicitor Frank Gearty explained that Mr Pelewe moved to Ireland from the Congo in November of last year.

“It was never his intention to cause alarm,” he said, adding that CCTV footage doesn't catch the interaction between the pair.

“He’s in a category where he’s looking for asylum so he’s receiving €21 per week and can’t offer compensation.

“There are some difficulties in the Congo where there’s a serious zone of conflict. He has two brothers in the same category.”

Judge Hughes, after hearing the evidence, gave the accused 80 hours of community service in lieu of a one month sentence.