Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Alleged cab rape was just 'a mistake'

A TAXI driver accused of raping an intoxicated female passenger allegedly told police officers who arrested him he had made a mistake, a court heard yesterday.

Student Md Kowsar Ali, 22, of Wiley Park, had been stopped by St George police officers two kilometres from the scene of the alleged attack in Beverley Park, Kogarah, after the victim had told police to look for a white taxi with damage to its front bonnet.

It was about 1.30am on November 4, last year, when Constables Benjamin Short and Ashley Taylor stopped the taxi near Kogarah station and informed Ali they were investigating an alleged sexual assault.

Constable Short told the Downing Centre District Court jury trial before Judge Peter Berman that Ali had told them his last passenger was a girl who he picked up in Flinders Street, Darlinghurst and had just "dropped her down the road".

Ali has pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual assault without consent, two counts of indecent assault and aggravated robbery. His defence has been one of consensual sex.

The victim, from Oyster Bay, who cannot be named and who was 18 at the time, has given evidence of drifting in and out of consciousness during the journey from the city, during which she had woken a number of times to find Ali touching her, eventually fleeing on foot after being raped in the cab.

He said that when informed police were investigating an alleged assault upon a woman, Ali allegedly replied in broken English: "Yes, I make a mistake. She make a mistake, but she make me interested."

In other evidence, Sergeant Scott Horwood said he spoke to Ali at the scene of his arrest and informed him of his rights, but Ali had admitted to fondling the young woman. Sgt Horwood said he asked Ali what happened then and Ali said: "She got out of the car. I tried to get her into the car … she wouldn't. She was crying."


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