A CAFÉ owner who was found guilty of sexually assaulting two former employees failed to get his convictions overturned and was instead sentenced.

Ghorban Karimi, 49, was found guilty in October of four counts of sexual assault between June and December 2021 at his business in Café Veneto in Banbury’s High Street, which he co-owns with his brother.

During the trial at Oxford Crown Court, it was heard that Karimi was ‘handsy’ with the young employees, often touching their bottoms and their hair and on occasion kissing one of the victims.

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Last month, Karimi tried to overturn the convictions, stating the girls were concocting a double-headed plot to get back at him after one was allegedly fired.

Oxford Mail: Ghorban KarimiGhorban Karimi (Image: NQ)

However, the appeal failed and Karimi was sentenced at the same court on Thursday (May 9).

Sentencing him to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years, Judge Ian Pringle said: “You came to this country 20 years ago to make yourself a better life and you have done so.

“It’s clear from the character references I’ve read about you that you impress many people and there is the outwards side of you which is a credit to you and your family.

“But you have a weakness – an inability to stop touching young girls. Abusing young employees in that way is a serious offence.”

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During the case, it was heard that the girls were teenagers at the time of the offences. The first victim said the incident has ‘increased her stress levels’.

The second said: “I have an anxiety disorder and when I’m near the High Street in Banbury I become extremely anxious.

“This is as a result of this incident. I found the process with the police stressful and upsetting to talk about.”

Defending Karimi, his barrister George Josef said he is a man of previous good character and the likelihood of him reoffending is ‘low’.

“He runs a business successfully,” he said. “Though that has already been impacted due to articles in the press.

“He has to work terribly hard to make sure his business survives. He’s confident that he can continue to provide for his family.”

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Deciding to suspend his prison sentence, Judge Pringle said that though the café co-owner has yet to accept some responsibility, he believes the court proceedings have been a ‘lesson’ for him.

“This has been your first experience of the criminal law,” he added. “Make sure it is also your last.”

Karimi will also need to pay £705 in court costs. A victim surcharge will also apply.