I'll drive taxi again if they let me, says sex attack cab driver
Published 09/05/2016 | 14:54
A taxi driver who admitted to sexually assaulting a female passenger has apologised to his victim.
Yomi Matti (50) avoided jail after he was given a three-month suspended sentence in March.
Just a handful of taxi drivers have had their licence revoked after being convicted of crimes.
Speaking to the Herald after the case, Matti explained he was unable to renew his licence due to the garda investigation into the crime. He confirmed he no longer holds a licence.
Matti has apologised to his victim - but insisted the incident was a misunderstanding.
In what the judge described as the "ultimate nightmare scenario" for an unaccompanied woman in a taxi, he was found guilty of repeatedly touching her thigh.
Matti said that he was very sorry for what had happened. "I didn't mean anything," he said.
"She said I touched her leg, I swear to God, I have a family of four kids, I have a wife and this is my livelihood. Why would I do something to jeopardise my life?
"I swear to God, I didn't mean anything," he said.
Matti said he would drive his taxi in future, if given the chance. However, current legislation will not allow this.
"This is my livelihood. I'm extremely sorry, I'm very sorry," he said. "She said I touched her about 10 times, each time about two seconds. I don't remember doing such, but it's her word against mine," he added.
"If I fought the case and if I had lost, I go to jail. I don't want to go to jail," he said.
In court, Matti pleaded guilty to sexual assaulting the woman on November 1, 2014. A garda told Blanchardstown District Court the victim had taken the taxi from Harcourt Street in the early hours of the morning. She was sitting in the front passenger seat.
"On the way out, the driver touched her on the leg on a number of occasions, that is the crux of it really," the garda said.
Matti - from Huntstown Lawn, Clonsilla - had no previous convictions of any kind. A victim impact statement was presented to the court. Reading this, the judge said it was a "very fair report" and the garda said he had agreed that the victim was a "very genuine young lady".
"Her motivation was totally unselfish in reporting the matter," Judge McHugh said. "She just didn't want it to happen to somebody else."
Matti, originally from Nigeria, has lived in Ireland for 15 years and had worked as a taxi driver for six years. He was ordered to pay €1,100, which he had brought to court, as a token of remorse to be given to the victim either to keep or donate to charity.