PF v DAVID LAZARESCU

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court today, 30 September 2014, Sheriff Crowe sentenced David Lazarescu to eight months in prison after he was found guilty of sexual assault charges.

On sentencing, Sheriff Crowe made the following statement in court: 

“After trial on 1 and 2 September 2014 you were found guilty of six contraventions of section 3 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.

All of the charges were of a remarkably similar nature. The young female complainers were travelling on buses which had spare seats and were seated next to a window. You sat down beside each of them and caused your legs to splay out whereby you came in contact with the young women’s thighs. The women all froze and looked ahead avoiding eye contact.

This conduct continued until the women got off at their stops. In some cases you also touched the young women on the side of their bodies near to their breasts. The complainers all felt alarmed and many express their disgust, feeling dirty etc.

In charge 2 the complainer was 14 years old at the time of the incident. She boarded a No. 26 bus about 10.30am on 8 July 2012 to go to a weekend job as a waitress and sat in the rearmost nearside seat on the top deck. I was shown video footage which confirmed there were ample alternative double seats but you sat beside her and pushed your leg towards her and touched her for about 15 minutes. The complainer squashed herself into the corner albeit there was no upper body contact. The behaviour was surreptitious and other passengers were oblivious to it. The complainer had been wearing a short coat, mini skirt and tights.

In charge 3 the complainer had been 16 at the time and got on a No. 5 bus about 8am to go to work as a trainee hairdresser. She sat downstairs on the bus in an offside seat near the window at the rear of the compartment. You sat beside her a few stops later. The incident lasted about 20 minutes. Despite her trying to move away from you, you pressed your leg against her thigh and touched her leg and side. The complainer was wearing leggings at the time.

In charge 4 the complainer was 20 at the time and boarded a No. 26 bus to go to work as a waitress about 10.30am. She was wearing black clothes for her work-either trousers or a skirt. She sat on a rear nearside seat. She had her thigh rubbed by your leg and sensed you staring at her but kept looking resolutely ahead avoiding eye contact.

In charge 6 the complainer was 17 at the time and boarded a No. 11 bus about 8.30am on a Saturday to attend a weekend job at Ocean Terminal. She sat on an offside seat on the lower deck of the bus and was joined by you. The bus was very quiet at the time with plenty of other seats available. She felt pushed against the window and had her leg and body touched by you and felt sexually assaulted. She was scared and froze but eventually managed to get off the bus a stop early. She later saw you in Ocean Terminal and felt scared.

In charge 7 the complainer was 22 at the time and five months pregnant. She boarded a No. 4 bus to go to work at 7.10am and was joined by you who sat beside her despite having a choice of other seats. You pressed her against the window with your leg and dug your arm into her body near her breast.

In charge 8 the complainer was also a young woman in her early 20’s and boarded a No. 4 bus about 7.30am to go to work. She sat on the lower deck on the nearside at the window. She was joined by you who pressed her against the window with your body and rubbed your leg against her thigh.

All complainers were upset when giving evidence.

You denied the charges, said you had no recollection of the incidents and could only say that their concern was caused by you shivering. You said you have a medical condition which caused you to shiver when the temperature changed. You have indicated it was best for you to sit at the rear of the bus near to the engine to keep you warm but you appear to have sat upstairs on various occasions and in other downstairs seats other than the rearmost ones on other occasions.

You do not accept your guilt of these crimes and it is difficult to consider a community based sentence as a result. While the background report assesses you of being a low risk offender the scheme used to produce these scores overlooks the fact that you have lived in other countries and little is known about your past.

Your behaviour went far beyond coincidence and allowing for the fact that you have lived in other countries there was no need to sit beside any of these young women far less remain seated beside them as the buses emptied of other passengers.

Your actions were deliberate, planned and followed a similar course whereby you slowly imposed yourself upon the young female passenger you selected. I am sure you took care to select your victims in the belief that due to their youth they would not know or have the confidence to boldly react to your actions and forced them into a corner so that you could obtain sexual gratification from touching these young women over a period of time.

In my view the only sentence I can impose is a custodial one as no other method seems appropriate. Your actions represented a deliberate course of conduct over a period of time and clearly had a significant and lasting effect upon your victims many of whom felt inhibited from using public transport for some time afterwards.

Accordingly you will go to prison for eight months and will require to register under the sex offenders’ scheme for the next 10 years.”

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