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Cricket physio Dr Aijaz Bashir Ashai faces a second charge over alleged sex assault at La Mon hotel

By Paul Higgins

Published 12/08/2015

Accused: Dr Aijaz Bashir Ashai
Accused: Dr Aijaz Bashir Ashai

An international cricket physiotherapist accused of sexually assaulting a female masseuse is to have an extra charge levelled against him a judge heard today.

A prosecuting lawyer told Newtownards Magistrates Court the indictment against former physio for the Nepalese cricket team, Dr Aijaz Bashir Ashai is to be amended to accuse him of inciting his alleged victim to engage in sexual activity on 14 July.

That count would have been put to Ashai today, but District Judge Paul Copeland raised concerns that her name would be read out in open court as the particulars of the offences as contain the name of the woman and gave the prosecution until Friday to consider the wording.

As an alleged victim of a sex offence, the complainant is guaranteed anonymity.

As it stands presently, the physio has already been charged and connected to an allegation that he sexually assaulted the woman.

When initially charged last month, Ashai stood in the dock in handcuffs where he was charged with sexually assaulting a female masseuse at the luxury La Mon Hotel.

The Nepalese national cricket team, for whom Ashai was working at the time but who have since dismissed the physio, had been staying at the hotel while they competed in the qualifying stages of the Twenty20 World Cup which were being held at Stormont.

A police constable told the court the masseuse alleged that Ashai, of Thakur Village East, Mumbai in India, had asked for a full body massage and despite having been instructed to wear underpants, he attended without them.

He told her he was suffering in the groin and buttock area the constable continued, and allegedly grabbed her hands and forced them between his legs, while in a state of arousal.

The court heard it was alleged he later apologised to the masseuse in front of a hotel manager who noticed she was in distress.

Ashai's apparently offered her a £10 tip which was refused, the court heard.

His lawyer said he admitted that he attended the massage but denied that he grabbed the masseuse's hands, or that he was aroused during treatment.

After his first court appearance, Ashai was granted bail to live at the Strangford Arms Hotel as it had no leisure facilities but was close to the court and police station.

Hotel management however refused to allow him to check in fearing adverse media publicity and since then, his bail address has been varied to an unnamed city centre hotel.

Today Judge Copeland released Ashai on continuing bail and ordered him to return to court this Friday.

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