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Courts

Woman allegedly raped by taxi driver tells court she woke up with him on top of her

The accused man, who can’t be named for legal reasons, denies the allegations.

A YOUNG WOMAN who was allegedly raped by a taxi driver said she didn’t know how to react when she woke up to find the man on top of her.

The man, who is in his fifties, has pleaded not guilty to the rape of this woman on a date in August 2022. He has further denied the rape and anal rape of another woman the previous June.

It is the State’s case that each woman found themselves in a taxi after a night out socialising in Dublin city centre and that each were raped by the accused man.

The accused man, who can’t be named for legal reasons, denies the allegations and says that any sexual interaction between him and each woman was consensual and initiated by them.

The complainant (now 21) told Gerardine Small SC, prosecuting, that she was socialising with friends on 8 August, 2022. She described getting up at 8am to go to work and later going to a friend’s house, where she had a few drinks.

She then said they went into Dublin city centre where the group had more drinks at several pubs.

They went for food in the early hours of 9 August, but she wasn’t allowed to join her friends in a take-away as she had gotten food somewhere else.

She said she then decided to go home as she was “tired” and “quite drunk”.

The woman said she got into the back of a taxi and gave her address. She didn’t engage in conversation with the driver and fell asleep as she was drunk.

She said the next thing she remembered was waking up with the taxi driver on top of her.

“I came to the realisation he was having sex with me…I didn’t want him to kiss me, I turned my head to the side.”

The young woman said she felt sore and “in shock”.

“I didn’t know how to react. I was awake at this stage. It woke me up, I remember turning my head so he wouldn’t kiss me.”

She said she couldn’t believe what was happening and “didn’t know how to fight back”.

She said she didn’t consent to sex.

She said when the man finished, he told her to pull her clothes back up and she did.

The woman said the incident lasted around five minutes, then the taxi driver dropped her home where he asked her to pay the fare.

She said she realised her phone had died and went into the house to get a charger before returning to the taxi. “I didn’t know what he could do next if I didn’t pay him,” she said.

She said her phone wasn’t charging and her parents came out of the house to give the taxi driver cash.

The taxi left after she got into the house. She said her parents had expected her to stay with friends and when they asked her questions, she “broke down crying” and told them what happened.

The court heard gardaí were contacted and the woman was later taken to a sexual assault treatment unit.

Under cross-examination, the woman accepted she didn’t initially give the taxi driver her full address, but denied she was awake when the car stopped.

She told Lorcan Staines SC, defending, that she didn’t recall any conversation about her night out with his client during the journey.

She denied a suggestion that she kissed the man, who then kissed her back.

Staines said his client instructs that she agreed when asked if she wanted him to get into the back seat. “No, that didn’t happen,” she replied.

Counsel put it to her that she initially told gardaí that she remembered the taxi stopping and the driver getting into the back of the car.

“I was falling in and out of consciousness,” she said, adding that she had no memory of the man sitting beside her in the back of the car or of him removing his trousers, then hers.

“From what I remember, my head was turned and he was having sex with me. I didn’t instigate it, I didn’t give consent.”

Staines suggested: “It’s fair to say you don’t remember how it started?” The woman replied, “No, I was asleep”.

Defence counsel outlined that his client says they “did have sex with each other”, and were both “happy”, “smiling” and “having a good time”. The complainant denied this.

The woman agreed that the taxi dropped her home and accepted there may have been some conversation with the man that her phone wasn’t charging fast enough.

“I remember being frustrated. I wanted him to leave,” she said.

In other evidence, the complainant’s mother said her daughter came home around 4am and she was surprised as the woman had said she would be staying overnight with friends.

Her daughter was looking for a phone charger, then went back to the taxi saying she had to pay. She said she gave her daughter cash to pay the fare.

She said her daughter was agitated and crying when she returned to the house after paying the taxi fare.

Her daughter told her a few minutes later that the taxi man had raped her. She said she was in shock and went to speak to her husband, while her daughter went to her bedroom.

She said she went to her daughter’s room to comfort her and found the young woman crying. She said her daughter told her it was “so sore”.

“I hugged her, I didn’t know what to do,” the complainant’s mother said. She later said she asked her daughter what happened, but “she didn’t say much”.

The witness agreed with defence counsel that she told gardaí her daughter said the taxi man had pulled down her clothes, then his.

She confirmed to Small that her daughter told her she was drowsy and falling asleep in the back of the taxi.

Two of the complainant’s friends gave evidence they had been out socialising on the night in question. One agreed with Staines that the complainant didn’t seem drunk to her at the end of the night

The other said the complainant told her the following morning on a Snapchat call that she had been raped in a taxi. She said the woman told her she didn’t feel “that drunk” but was very drowsy and was falling in and out of sleep.

She said the woman was very upset and getting “jumbled” in what she was saying.

CCTV footage of the taxi picking up the complainant and from its journey were shown to the jury alongside location data from the vehicle.

The trial continues at the Central Criminal Court before Justice Paul McDermott and the jury.

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