A recent migrant from Somalia who molested an under-age girl and two young women in a single day has escaped jail, with his lawyer arguing his crimes were due to “cultural differences”.
Ali Abdullahi’s lawyer explained that the defendant had come to the UK from a “conservative” Somalian community via Kenya in 2011, and that he has a wife who is currently living in Ethiopia.
In a single day, he tried to kiss a 15-year-old girl on a station platform, lunged at a female passenger on a train journey, and made an “inappropriate” approach at another woman.
The crimes were committed on board a train and at Torquay train station in Devon in December 2013. Mr Abdullahi, 34, was given a community order and told to attend a sex offender course to improve his conduct with women.
“You behaved completely inappropriately…” the Judge said. “The sex offending was not of the most serious kind but would have been extremely frightening to both girls”, he added.
Despite pleading guilty to the attacks, Mr. Abdullahi, who works as a security guard, still has trouble admitting he did anything wrong, the court heard.
Adrian Chaplin, mitigating, said that at the time of the offences Mr Abdullahi had been tired after a day at work, and claimed his client felt frustrated as he was trying to “establish a rapport” with the girls.
According to the Daily Mail, he added: “There is work to be done in terms of him being frank with himself and understanding the different levels of acceptable conduct.
“He comes from a conservative culture in Somalia and misunderstands the extent to which ordinary polite engagement and interaction should or should not be seen as a precursor towards seeking to be physically close to someone.
“It is not the first case of people coming to this country and society and feeling a combination of freedom but not entirely properly understanding boundaries which can lead to a misunderstanding.”
Judge Cottle said if he sent the defendant, of St Pauls, Bristol, to prison, the sentence would be short and he would come out an untreated sex offender.
The Thames Valley Sex Offenders Treatment Programme was a demanding course, he said, and would be part of a three-year community order with supervision.