herald

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Dad's threat to kill daughter for walking with 'black' male pal

A MAN who attacked and threatened to kill his daughter at knifepoint for walking to college with a black friend has avoided a prison sentence.

Algerian national Hakim Didani (47) assaulted his then 17-year-old daughter and made threats against her life while holding a knife in one hand and a screwdriver in the other.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Didani held a knife to his daughter's face and threatened to bring her to a forest to kill her.

Didani, of Mount Egan Green, Leopardstown, Dublin 18, pleaded guilty to making threats to kill and assault on the morning of November 18, 2010.

The man has since been cut off from his family and has not been allowed return to the family home in Dublin 15.

Garda Kevin Mention told the court Didani became angry when he spotted his daughter walking to college at the Blanchardstown Institute of Technology with her friend.

He drove up alongside the pair and shouted abuse out the window at them. He called his daughter "a w****" and "a cow", before shouting: "You needn't come home tonight."

Garda Mention said Didani gestured at his daughter's friend and said: "He's black," before driving off.

The teenager became upset and was comforted by her friend, who gave her a hug.



Hitting

Didani then did a U-turn and pulled up alongside the two friends again. This time he brandished a screwdriver, pointed it at his daughter's friend and said: "Come here, come here."

The student ran away when the man tried to get out of his car while brandishing the screwdriver.

Didani shouted after the student, saying he would be waiting outside college to get him, before ordering his daughter into the car.

He began hitting her in the face while shouting at her as he drove towards their home.

The court heard that he stopped the car in a bus lane and started hitting her with the handle of the screwdriver.

"If I get you to a forest right now I'll kill you," he told her.

When they got back to the house, the girl was ordered inside. Didani began beating her before she had a chance to close the door behind her, which caused her to fall to the ground.

He continued to kick and hit her while she lay on the ground.

Didani then walked into the kitchen and returned with a kitchen knife in one hand, while still holding the screwdriver in the other.

He put the knife to her face and said: "I'm going to kill you."

The victim's mother and youngest sister arrived home during the assault, and he began shouting in his wife's face.

"You will go to Algeria or I will kill you," he said, while brandishing the knife.

The teenager's younger sister ran upstairs and phoned the gardai, who arrived and arrested Didani.

Garda Mention agreed with Vincent Heneghan, defending, that there were "cultural differences" which were key to this case, and confirmed that Didani has no previous convictions.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring noted that the girl had only suffered minor injuries, but said there were serious emotional and psychological consequences.

She said it was a very sad case, as it has left the family divided and the girl -- who is now 19 -- has not returned to college since the assault.

"It's perhaps not surprising that the family unit has broken down since this event, but Mr Didani has no one to blame but himself," she said.



Charitable

Judge Ring noted that the teenager was "very charitable" in her victim impact statement, and said she did not wish her father to be sent to prison.

Judge Ring handed down a two and a half year suspended sentence, and ordered that Didani make no efforts to contact his daughter during this period.

The court heard that Didani, a member of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland, was a very strict father. He arrived in Dublin in 1989 after training as a chef in London.

The court heard that he was deeply remorseful and regretted everything that happened.

hnews@herald.ie

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