Friday 15 November 2019

I didn’t take advantage of sleeping girl, taxi driver tells court

Kathryn Hayes

A TAXI driver has denied he "took advantage of a sleeping girl" while driving her home from a night out in Limerick.

Abdul Mannan, (39) of Rhebogue Meadows, Limerick has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the first year college student on February 7th 2011.

In his evidence at Limerick Circuit Court the father-of-two, who is originally from Bengal, said whatever had taken place between him and the 19-year-old girl was consensual. He also claimed it was instigated by her.

He said the student had threatened him he would be in trouble with City Campus, her student accommodation, if he didn't comply.

He told the court the girl had become abusive and started shouting at him when she woke up and realised he had taken a wrong turn.

He said she took out a condom and asked him to “make sex with her” which he refused.

Asked by his defence counsel Michael Fitzgibbon why she would do this he replied:

"I think maybe she is not a good girl."

In her evidence the victim, who is now in her final year at Mary Immaculate College, said she fell asleep in Mr Mannan's taxi shortly after getting into the front seat of his car. When she woke up, the driver was sexually assaulting her.

She was shocked but tried to stay calm. After asking him to stop, Mr Mannan drove her back into town and left her out at the train station where she got another taxi home and called the gardai.

Counsel for the State John O'Sullivan put it to Mr Mannan that the suggestion he was forced to engage in this act was “utter nonsense” and told him he had “taken advantage of the sleeping girl”.

In his address to the jury during closing speeches, Mr O'Sullivan added the case was a matter of credibility and said the evidence of the injured party was "entirely credible".

Mr Fitzgibbon said the victim had been drinking to excess as part of rag week celebrations before she got into the taxi.

He said it would have been very easy for Mr Mannan to deny any activity had taken place but instead he had admitted that whatever had taken place was consensual.

Mr O'Sullivan said Mr Mannan had taken away his ID card from the dashboard of his taxi because he "wanted to cover up his identity".

The jury in the trial is due to resume its deliberations tomorrow.



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