A TAXI driver who sexually assaulted a 19-year-old student was allowed to keep his licence by a district court judge despite objections from a senior garda officer.
Bangladeshi taxi driver Abdul Mannan (39) was behind bars last night and is awaiting sentence today after a jury found him guilty of assaulting a young woman who had fallen asleep in his cab.
Mannan (pictured), of Rhebogue Meadows, Limerick, had denied assaulting the 19-year-old Mary Immaculate College student in Limerick on February 7, 2011.
The Irish Independent can today reveal that a week after the crime, Mannan's public service vehicle licence (PSV) was revoked by Chief Supt David Sheahan of Henry Street garda station.
However, Mannan, who had been living in Ireland with his wife for 12 years and was driving a taxi for two years when he sexually assaulted the teenager, then appealed the issue to Limerick District Court.
Within months, Judge Tom O'Donnell heard the case and Chief Supt Sheahan objected to Mannan being allowed to work as a taxi driver or have his PSV licence returned to him.
Mannan's legal team contended that his livelihood had been affected and nothing had been proven in relation to the sexual assault incident. After Judge O'Donnell's decision to overturn the revoking of the licence, Chief Supt Sheahan appealed the matter to Limerick Circuit Court.
However, Mannan subsequently decided not to contest the case at the Circuit Court and Judge O'Donnell's decision was vacated. Mannan, who has no previous convictions, ultimately never received his licence back.
Yesterday, a 12-person jury in Limerick Circuit Criminal Court found him guilty of sexually assaulting the teenager by a majority of 11 to one after deliberating for almost three hours.
Judge Carroll Moran heard that on the date of the offence, the first-year student drank from a naggin of vodka and had two beers in Scotts bar near her college during Rag Week celebrations.
She said she told the taxi driver to bring her to City Campus on Lord Edward Street where she lived.
The court heard she fell asleep and woke up five to 10 minutes later. She said the taxi driver had two fingers in her vagina and his other hand on his steering wheel.
"I was shocked, I tried to remain calm and told him to stop," she said.
He took his hand away from her and she told him to bring her to the city campus accommodation immediately.
Mannan – a married father of two – will be sentenced today.