Taxi driver denies raping Briton

Woman, 24 tells court she was assaulted on back seat of cab after telling accused that he would have to return in the morning for his fare.

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DUBAI // A taxi driver accused of rape told a judge yesterday that an intoxicated 24-year-old British woman locked outside her parents' house offered herself to him. The 47-year-old taxi driver, S G, who faces the death penalty, denied the charges when they were read in the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance.

Prosecutors accuse S G of raping the British visitor on the back seat of a Dubai Transport taxi on March 5 in front of her home in the Springs gated community. S G told presiding Judge el Saeed Bargouth that the woman, whom he picked up from Chi at the Lodge nightclub near Oud Metha, asked him to sleep with her and seduced him after undressing. The complaint was reported to Jebel Ali police at 5am on the morning of the incident. An officer told prosecutors that when police arrived they found the woman, who was drunk and distraught, with her parents.

According to the officers, she did not show any outward signs of assault, although her trousers were worn inside out. The woman told police that she had taken the taxi from Chi to her parents' home. She said that when she arrived, she asked the driver to wait while she went to get money from inside the house, but found the door locked. After numerous attempts at ringing the doorbell, the woman returned to the taxi and used the driver's mobile to call her mother.

She told officers that she finally told the driver to come back in the morning to collect his fare, but that he then jumped into the back seat and raped her. Her mother told prosecutors that she woke up to a commotion outside her house and found her daughter banging on the door, and asking her to call 999. The mother told prosecutors that her daughter told her that she had fought off the defendant and scratched his face.

Police officers said that the defendant was arrested after the community's security guard provided them with the taxi's licence plate number. Officers reported seeing no visible signs of a struggle on his face or hands. Forensic reports stated that the woman's blood-alcohol level was between 142 and 227 mg/dl. According to prosecution records, that level of alcohol can put a person in an unstable emotional state, leave them unable to make decisions and also create an altered state of consciousness and memory. The drink drive limit in most western countries is about 80 to 100 mg/dl.

However, evidence found on the back seat of the taxi and the victim's clothes implicated the defendant in the case, officials said. The Dubai Criminal Court did not say whether the woman would be charged with any alcohol-related offences at the Dubai Misdemeanours Court, which can carry a jail term or a fine. The court adjourned the case until June 22 so the defendant's legal counsel could prepare a case.

This case is the second recent instance involving a taxi driver accused of assaulting a British woman. In the same chamber yesterday, an Egyptian taxi driver, T H, faced charges of sexually assaulting and kidnapping a British marketing co-ordinator who was returning home after a night out with her friends. The woman, who was heading towards the Dubai Marina, was instead taken to the Jumeirah Palm Island by the driver and assaulted, officials said.

The woman escaped and hailed another cab before calling police. The court adjourned that hearing until June 6.