Taxi driver’s rape conviction appeal thrown out

Court
Court

A taxi driver jailed for raping a drunk female passenger has failed in a bid to have his conviction overturned.

Muhammed Akbar Nabi had claimed the woman instead subjected him to a sexual assault after getting into his car.

But dismissing his challenge, judges in the Court of Appeal ruled that the evidence against him was overwhelming.

Lord Justice Girvan said: “The defence case lacked any plausibility.”

Nabi, 49, received a nine-year sentence after being found guilty of oral rape and sexual assault.

The cab driver, formerly of Ashgrove Road in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, attacked his victim after picking her up in August 2010.

She had just left a barbeque party near Moneyreagh, Co Down when Nabi arrived and claimed to be her ordered taxi.

During his trial at Downpatrick Crown Court the woman recalled Nabi made her drink from a bottle of water.

She said it had a syrupy texture, left her unable to move and at first only able to whimper.

It was then that Nabi, a married father of three, sexually assaulted her and forced her to perform a sex act, the court heard.

The woman told how at one stage he said to her: “Daddy knows what you want.”

Her ordeal ended when she threatened he would be attacked by others for his actions.

She claimed he then dumped her out of the car before removing the taxi sign and driving away.

Nabi denied the offences, claiming she had sexually assaulted him and continued to perform a sex act on him despite being told to stop.

His trial also heard details of a previous incident involving another lone female passenger Nabi was found guilty of sexually assaulting before being cleared on appeal.

Defence lawyers challenged the latest verdicts on the grounds that bad character evidence was wrongly admitted.

They also claimed the trial judge wrongly allowed the prosecution to re-open its case after closing to allow evidence from the second woman he was ultimately acquitted of attacking.

But Lord Justice Girvan, sitting with Lord Justices Coghlin and Gillen, rejected all grounds of challenge.

Following their verdict defence counsel confirmed that a further appeal against sentence had been abandoned.