Sunday 18 February 2018

Teen’s evidence in sex assault case against taxi driver unreliable after too many vodkas

Gavin Lambert
Gavin Lambert

Andrew Phelan

A TAXI driver has been acquitted of sexually assaulting a passenger after a judge ruled the teenage woman’s evidence was unreliable because of the amount she had to drink.

Gavin Lambert (44) was found not guilty of attacking the girl who had alleged he stroked and squeezed her thigh as she sat in the front of his cab.

Dismissing the case, Judge Ann Ryan said she did not accept that the uncorroborated evidence of the girl (19) was “altogether credible because of her level of alcohol consumption”.

Dublin District Court heard the teenager had drank 14

vodka units on the night.

The judge also questioned why the alleged victim had not immediately got out of the unlocked taxi.

Mr Lambert, a father-of-two of Drynam Drive, Drynam Hall, Kinsealy, hugged and kissed his partner in court when the judge delivered her ruling.

The girl, now aged 20, had said she was out drinking with a friend in Dublin city centre on a Saturday night in September, 2014.

They had some vodkas in her house before going to a nightclub.

She said she left her friend chatting with “guys” they knew to go and get a taxi at Parnell Street.


She claimed Mr Lambert rolled down the window and asked if she wanted a lift. She got into the front seat and was texting her friend when she alleged Mr Lambert touched her leg and commented she had “a nice tan done”.

She said she felt uncomfortable and asked him to stop.

“He was stroking further and further up my thigh and squeezed it a little bit,” she said.

She rang her friend and during the call, the accused got “aggressive”, she told him to “get off me” and jumped out, she said.

She claimed he shouted out the window: “You are nothing special.”

She took the cab’s number.

In cross-examination by solicitor Sarah Dick, she admitted having 14 units of vodka, but insisted she was coherent enough to take the registration.

Mr Lambert said it was the girl who approached him and got in.

He said she was “drunk and emotional, all over the place, flirting with me”.

“She said ‘I have a friend who makes three grand a week as a call girl. What do you think? I was thinking of doing it myself’,” he told the court.

He said she was smirking and began asking him if it was a free taxi.

He said she called her friend to say “I have a free taxi here” and that was when he got annoyed and told her to get out.

He admitted he shouted after her: “You are the ugliest girl in the world.”

Asked if he touched the girl at all, he said: “It’s absolute nonsense, it’s ridiculous, it’s an absolute lie.”

“What the court has to deal with is one person’s word against the other,” Judge Ryan said. “There is certainly a doubt in the court’s mind.”

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