Cricket physio pleads guilty to sex crime

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An internationally renowned-physiotherapist from India escaped jail on Friday after a judge suspended his four-month prison term for what he described as a “horrible” sex crime.

At Newtownards Magistrates Court Dr Aijaz Bashir Ashai, 43, admitted a single offence of causing his victim to engage in sexual activity on July 14 this year.

As Ashai sat in the dock with his head bowed, a prosecuting lawyer told the court how his victim had twice spurned his “sexual advances” during a massage at the La Mon Hotel spa when he “grabbed her hands and forced them between his legs,” adding that he then put her hands on his private parts “rubbing them up and down.”

“She shouted ‘no,’ left the room immediately and told the manager who saw the injured party exit the treatment room in a distressed state,” said the lawyer.

Immediately after the incident Ashai “apologised repeatedly” but was arrested by police who had been alerted.

At the time of the incident Ashai was staying at the hotel with the Nepalese cricket team who were playing their T20 World Cup qualifiers at Stormont, but he has since been sacked as their physio.

Arrested and questioned, he denied behaving in any sexual way, claiming the only time he touched the lady was to move her arm away from his inner leg.

On Friday, however, Ashai accepted his guilt.

“To forced yourself upon her in the way you did was unthinkable,” said the judge.

Suspending the term for three years, the judge ordered Ashai to sign the police sex offenders register for five years.

He was also ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation.