View Full Version : Bembnista trial sentence

14-Oct-16, 07:47
Stalker banned from Edinburgh to prevent former husband pestering former wife

AN elderly man has been banned from Scotland's capital for life by a sheriff,. to ensure he will never again be able to pester his former wife living there. Glasgow-born Constanty

Bembnista, 68, pursued her the length of the country, to Edinburgh and stalked her there for which he was fined 500.

He was also ordered to pay Marie Islam, 47 - she remarried - compensation of 500 for an assault on her during the time they were living in Caithness.

The couple had married in the Central Belt and moved to set up home at Kyleburn Cottage in the village of Lybster on the east coast of the county. The assault took place in the summer of 2001 after they decided to go for a run in his car Wick Sheriff Court heard.

Villager Deborah Dixon, 49, witnessed the incident while she was dusting the picture window of her living room in nearby Harbour Road. She told the jury of seeing a car stop suddenly, outside, and observed Bembnista arguing with his wife.
His arms were flailing and Ms Dixon was shocked to see him punch his then wife, Mrs Bembnista. Then the passenger door was flung open and Mrs Bembnista was forcibly pushed out of the vehicle by the accused landing on the road on her hands and knees

Ms Dixon went to her front door and shouted to see if Mrs Bembnista needed help but she indicated she was 'okay' and walked away in the direction of her home. The incident came to light during door-to-door inquiries by the police.

Bemnista denied the assault, on indictment, claiming Mrs Bembnista had left the car of her own accord and stumbled and fallen. He also pleaded not guilty to a breach of the peace, by stalking her in Edinburgh, but was found guilty by the jury on both counts.

The jury heard that it was an unhappy marriage for Mrs Bembnista. Giving her evidence through a video link from Edinburgh Sheriff Court, she told the court that the she eventually reached the stage where she decided to leave him. She moved south to Edinburgh in 2013 with the new man in her life, chef Fukral Islam.

The court heard that Mrs Bembnista was "euphoric" about her new start with Mr Islam. She got a job, made new friends and subsequently secured a divorce from her husband paving the way for her marriage to Mr Islam. But memories of the marriage she wanted to forget, returned to "haunt her" with the unwelcome appearance of her former husband.

He had hired a private detective to track her down, and stalked her, repeatedly turning up at her home and place of work and continuing to pursue her after even after she moved house and left her messages on the doorstep. On another occasion, Bembnista made threatening comments to her and her young child and also contacted her by phone.

"His presence made her hysterical" said fiscal Andrew Laing who added: "She lived in fear of her husband who continued to cast a dark shadow over her new life." Eventually, Mrs Islam obtained an interdict banning Bembnista from approaching or contacting her.

Bembnista, a former soldier, now living in Lancaster, claimed he only wanted to get in touch with his wife to obtain an explanation for her sudden departure and to ensure she was okay. He maintained his meetings with her had been amicable. He spoke in his evidence how they had walked "hand-in-hand" and enjoyed meals in expensive restaurants, - claims that were dismissed as "outlandish and false" by Mr Laing.

Bembnista got special permission to have his Jack Russell dog with him in the dock during the lengthy trial. The accused is hard of hearing - a tank explosion during his army days left him with only 13 percent hearing -and special arrangements were made with electronic note-takers keying the proceedings onto a computer screen in front of him.

Sentencing Bembnista yesterday, Sheriff Andrew Berry said it had been "an unusual case". In arriving at a punishment, he said he had to consider Bembnista's age and personal circumstances and the fact that, up until the trial, had no previous convictions.

The sheriff said that the breach of the peace had included a number of incidents in Edinburgh where the accused had "worryingly ascertained she lived".

Sheriff Berry continued: "It is critically important that Mrs Islam feels secure for the rest of her life" and imposed the Edinburgh ban under a non-harrassment order for an indefinite period.

The sheriff told Benmnista: "You will not enter Edinburgh at any time for any reason and you will not contact with her in any way and for any reason.all of which is imposed to give her a sense of reassurance that there can be no contact even by chance while she get moves on and gets on with her life. Can I take it that you understand the terms of the non harrassment order"

Bemnista replied: "yes" and the sheriff who went on: "It would without saying that any contravention of that order would trigger further proceedings with potentially further, serious consequences."

The sheriff added: "Mrs Islam must have found great difficulty over the last few years in the preparation to engage in the court process but she did so successfully."