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Friday 24 January 2020

Taxi seized over student's claim she was raped

Garda scene
Garda scene

GARDAI have seized a taxi for forensic examination after a student claimed she had been raped by the driver.

The 20-year-old woman told gardai she had hailed the taxi outside a Dublin city centre night club at 2am on Tuesday and asked to be driven home.

She said the driver travelled through the Phoenix Park, where he stopped the car and then raped her.

He later left her outside a security gate at Dublin City University where staff alerted the gardai at Santry.

The girl was taken to hospital for a medical examination and has spoken to investigating gardai and will make a full statement later.

Officers have traced the taxi driver and interviewed him but he has not been arrested for questioning.

The driver denied the allegation. He admitted that he had sex with the student, but claimed it was consensual and said they had swapped mobile phone numbers afterwards.

However, gardai said the student was adamant that she had been sexually assaulted and she had not given her consent.

The taxi has been seized and taken away for checks by forensic officers.

Gardai are awaiting the outcome of the forensic tests on the vehicle and the medical examination of the student.

Fiona Neary, director of Rape Crisis Network Ireland, said taxi drivers often provided a service to vulnerable people.

'TOLERATED'

"It should be the case that sexual innuendo or conduct of any kind is not tolerated from either driver or passenger," she added.

She said a code of conduct and complaints system was in place and she advised that behaviour that was inappropriate but not necessarily criminal should be reported.

Union of Students in Ireland deputy president Denise McCarthy said they wanted to remind people they should never be afraid to report incidents to the gardai, whatever the circumstances.

"Having sex with someone who cannot consent, because they are too drunk or are in fear, is rape," she said.

A recent USI study showed that 22pc of victims did not report incidents of sexual violence because they thought that they would be blamed for what had happened, while in over six-in-10 cases the victims were under the influence of alcohol at the time.

Ms McCarthy said: "This belief is dangerous. It is never the fault of the victim even if they have been drinking or taking drugs.

"It is important that victims feel that they can report an incident no matter what the context. Making a habit of noting the name or licence number of a taxi driver at the start of a journey can be very helpful."

By Tom Brady

Irish Independent

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