Taxi driver accused of sexually assaulting passenger

A Cavan taxi driver has gone on trial charged with sexually assaulting a female passenger on her way home from a company Christmas Party three years ago.

The 49-year-old man, who can not be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexual assault of the woman outside her north city home on December 11, 2005.

The woman told Ms Caroline Biggs BL, prosecuting, that she had been dropped near her home by a bus after attending her company's Christmas party in a Kildare hotel.

She said she got off the bus with a friend who she put into a nearby taxi and ran across the road to hail another taxi for herself.

She was only a two-minute drive from her home but decided to get a taxi because her feet were sore due to her new shoes and because there was not many houses on the way to her home and she felt unsafe.

She said she got into the taxi behind the driver's seat and apologised to him saying she was only going a short distance because her feet were sore. She then reached down to take off her shoes and the driver told her to put her feet up and he would massage them. She replied: "No, thank you."

She said she caught sight of him in the rear view mirror staring at her and he said to her "you're gorgeous". He asked her if her husband or boyfriend would massage her feet when she got home and she told him that she was separated.

She said she gave him directions to her home and offered him the fare when they got to the house but he refused to accept it. She said he asked her if she wanted to get in the front of the taxi and when she said "no" he asked her if he should get in the back with her.

The complainant told Ms Biggs she gathered up her shoes and when she opened the car door the driver was outside. She said he put his two arms around her so she could not move and asked for a "Christmas kiss".

She said he then began rubbing his groin against her leg and she told him to get off. She said she bent forward because she could not get away and when her coat fell open the taximan's hand made sexual contact with her groin.

She told Ms Biggs she shouted: "Get the f**k off me." He got back into the car, opened the window and asked her: "Do you want to go for a drink some time?"

She said she went into the house where she wrote the taxi number and a description of the driver on a blackboard in the kitchen before she went to bed. The driver of the car was the same man pictured in the identification card of the taxi.

The woman said she spoke the next day to her mother and brother who encouraged her to contact the taxi regulator and gardaí to make a complaint which she subsequently did.

The trial continues before Judge Tony Hunt and a jury of four women and eight men.

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