Austria: Afghan harasses and grabs 12-year-old local girl, claiming she is “his wife, whom he is now taking home”

On the second day of the trial before the Vienna Court of Lay Assessors, presided over by Andreas Böhm, the 23-year-old defendant Samim O. did not manage to attract any positive publicity. Böhm reacts unenthusiastically to counter-questions, which does not stop the accused from asking some. On July the 17th, the Afghan, who has four previous convictions, is said to have sexually assaulted a twelve-year-old girl by grabbing her breast and trying to kiss her in an underground train and at Praterstern station. He then is said to have resisted his arrest and tried to injure police officers.O. says he was so drunk with 1.32 per mille of alcohol tested subsequently that he can no longer remember the incidents. However, on the first day of the trial, he could not imagine that he had done anything wrong – despite testimonies to the contrary and video recordings from surveillance cameras.These are now screened, also a 15-year-old girl, who was one of the child’s two companions at the time, appears this time for her testimony. The teenager is accompanied by her mother and says she is still so afraid of O. that she only wants to testify in his absence.They were on their way to the supermarket at the time, the witness remembers – next to her and her friend was her little sister. O. and a second man got into the train and sat down near them. O. then said that the twelve-year-old was “his wife, whom he was now taking home”. The witness is also sure that the accused tried to kiss the child and deliberately touched her breast.Even after they got off the train, the 23-year-old continued to harass them and followed them into the lift. In the lift cabin, he touched the victim again and tried to kiss her. According to the statement of the victim’s sister, which was only read out, a man and a woman were also present in the lift. Their reaction: They admonished the young people not to be so loud.

O. is sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for attempted grievous bodily harm against the police officers, resistance against state authority and coercion of the girl. The evidence would not be sufficient for a conviction for a sexual offence, the presiding judge reasoned. He does not believe that the girls lied later, but if there was any touching of the breast, it probably happened while they were clasping each other in a spontaneous movement.

Nevertheless, Böhm maintains that he considers the crime to be “inconceivable behaviour in broad daylight”.Therefore, he also revokes the seven open months of the most recent parole. O. denies that anything is still pending. Böhm checks the file and has the interpreter translate: “He has so many sentences, he doesn’t know what happened.” But if there really was a mistake, it would be clarified while he was in prison, the presiding judge promised the accused.

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