Ringleader in kidnapping, sexual assault denied bail

The "ringleader" of a trio of Ottawa women convicted in the kidnapping and sexual assault of an acquaintance four years ago will remain in custody, but a judge has released her two accomplices until their sentencing hearing next year.

On Oct. 18, Eunice Ilunga, 44, Sandrine Tomba-Kalema, 39, and 29-year-old Safi Mahinja were convicted of sexual assault, kidnapping, forcible confinement and breaking and entering in the July 3, 2015, incident. 

Ilunga was also convicted of assault and distributing intimate images on the internet.  

The victim was known to the women, but can't be named due to a court-ordered publication ban. 

The Crown argued the crimes were part of a revenge plot against the victim for having an affair with Ilunga's boyfriend. 

Lawyers caught off guard

In October, the Crown convinced Superior Court Justice Robert Smith that due to the severity of the crimes, bail for all three women should be revoked until their sentencing in February.    

But lawyers for the women told the judge they'd been caught off guard by the Crown's request and needed time to mount arguments as to why their clients should be allowed out on bail.  

Smith handed down his decision to release two of the women but keep Ilunga behind bars on Wednesday.  

The victim testified that the women burst into her apartment, hit her in the face, partially stripped off her clothes and slashed her furniture. 

She said the women then forced her into a car and drove to Mahinja's home where they removed her pubic hair with depilatory cream. 

Ilunga posted images of the assault on social media. The victim broke down in court when she described how humiliating it was to see the posts.  

Their sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 13.