A Filipino woman who poured boiling water over a man's face in a casino has received a fully suspended sentence.
Samantha Otto (58) committed the “utterly unprovoked” assault on the victim following “a period of harassment” after the victim had rejected her advances.
Otto, with an address at Grosvenor Square, Rathmines, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm at Empire Casino, Burgh Quay, Dublin 2, on April 27, 2019. She has no previous convictions.
Detective Garda Pauline Collier told Karl Finnegan BL, prosecuting, that the background to the assault was that the victim would sometimes attend the casino after work. He met Otto there on one such occasion and gave her his phone number.
Det Gda Collier said the victim began receiving text messages of a sexual nature from Otto which made him uncomfortable and he explained to her that he just wished to be friends. Otto got angry with the man when he told her he would block her phone number if she continued.
Otto would “constantly” ask him to unblock her number when they subsequently met at the casino, the court heard. On one occasion the accused asked the man if she could go home with him and then followed him onto his bus.
The accused later offered an apology for this incident, which the man accepted while also saying that her behaviour was unacceptable. As time went on, Otto continued to ask him to unblock her on his phone.
On the date of the offence, the man attended at the casino and told Otto he did not wish to speak to her. Otto pushed the man and called him an “asshole”, to which the man replied that he had had enough and called her a “crazy bitch”.
Later on, while the man was sitting at a slot machine, Otto approached him with a cup of boiling water and poured it over his face.
The court heard that the victim sustained burns to his face, neck, shoulders and chest. He subsequently moved home as he no longer felt safe.
Det Gda Collier agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that the victim has fully recovered from his physical injuries.
Mr Le Vert said his client is originally from the Philippines and came to Ireland in 2011 to work in a salon. He said Otto lost her voice for a year in 2014 and as a result became unemployed.
Counsel said she fell into serious financial difficulties and “found herself essentially working on the street”. He said a worker for a non-governmental organisation had staged an intervention for her and that she is now pursuing further education.
Mr Le Vert said that on the date in question his client thought the man was laughing at her and she lost control. He said she is “absolutely mortified” as she has never committed a violent act before and was a victim of robbery while on the street.
Judge Pauline Codd said the two matters that significantly aggravated the offence were that the incident arising in the context of “a period of harassment” and that the assault was “utterly unprovoked”.
Judge Codd said that in view of Otto's previous good character and the difficulties she has faced in her life, she did not think it was appropriate to impose a custodial sentence.
She sentenced Otto to three years imprisonment which she suspended in full on strict conditions.