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Taxi driver accused of raping passengers told gardai woman asked was ‘this off the bill’

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The man denies the allegations and says that any sexual interaction between him and each woman was consensual.

The Central Criminal Court heard that the man told gardai in a prepared statement that the then 20-year-old woman was smiling and kissing him while they had sex.

He said she then asked, “was this off the bill?”

“I thought it was a joke. I said ‘no, it’s not’ in a joking manner,” he told gardai.

The 50-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the rape of this woman on August 9, 2022.

He has further denied the rape and anal rape of another woman the previous June.

It is the State’s case that each young woman found themselves in a taxi after a night out socialising in Dublin city centre and that each woman was raped by the accused.

The man, who can’t be named for legal reasons, denies the allegations and says that any sexual interaction between him and each woman was consensual.

Today, the Central Criminal Court heard that the

man was arrested at his home on August 22, 2022 in relation to the alleged rape of the second complainant on August 9.

He replied, “I didn’t rape anyone” after caution.

Yesterday, this woman gave evidence that she decided to get a taxi home in the early hours of August 9 after socialising with friends.

She said she fell asleep during the journey as she was tired and drunk.

She said the next thing she remembered was waking up to the taxi driver raping her. She told the court that she didn’t instigate sex or consent to it.

The court heard the man provided a written statement to gardai when interviewed, which was read to the court today.

In his statement, which was read out by prosecuting counsel, Gerardine Small SC, the man “categorically denied” the allegation of rape and said all sexual contact with the woman was consensual.

He said he was working on the night in question and the woman came to his taxi asking if he would take her to her home town. He agreed and she got into the back of the taxi.

He said they chatted during the journey with the woman telling him that her phone had died and it was the only way she could pay.

He said he told her she could charge the phone when she got home, then pay him.

The man said the woman became quiet and he assumed she had fallen asleep during the journey.

He said he drove around her home town to increase the fare, which he felt ashamed for doing.

He said he parked the car to check her address and noticed she was awake. She then leaned forward and kissed him.

He said he kissed her back and “felt flattered a younger woman was interested” in him.

He said she agreed when he asked if she wanted him to get into the back seat, where they engaged in consensual sex.

The man outlined to gardai that he got out of the car when they finished to give the woman privacy to get dressed again, then he drove her home.

The man said she was laughing on the way and said “whatever I owe, I’ll pay you”.

He said she went to the house to get a charger, then returned to the car. He saw her mother calling to her from the door and the woman went back to the house. She then returned, took the charger and paid the fare in cash.

The man told gardai he felt “ashamed” for cheating on his partner and that it was “not something I’m proud of”.

He said he shouldn’t have asked the woman to pay the taxi fare, describing it as a “stupid thing to do”.

He repeated his claim that all sexual contact was consensual and said he had “no reason to doubt” her willingness to participate in the sexual activity.

In other evidence, the jury were shown further CCTV footage and location data showing the taxi leaving the woman’s home town, then making its way back into Dublin city on August 9.

A garda analyst gave evidence that in footage shown to the jury today, the taxi was stopped for around seven minutes at the location where the alleged rape of this complainant took place.

This CCTV footage showed the man getting out of the car, then into the rear passenger side seat.

Just over six minutes later, the man left the vehicle and returned to the driver’s seat.

The witness agreed with Lorcan Staines SC, defending, that the location data recorded the taxi stopping outside the woman’s house for around eight minutes.

Gardai identified the vehicle’s registration from CCTV and the taxi was seized in the days after the alleged incident occurred.

The man’s Samsung phone was also seized by gardai, along with a black Nokia phone which was found in the glove compartment of the taxi when it was searched.

An investigating garda agreed with Mr Staines that both phones were analysed and the Nokia appeared to be a work phone.

The witness further confirmed that the man provided gardai with the password for the Samsung phone and messages of a sexual nature between the man and a number of other women were found on it.

DNA samples were taken from the man during his period of detention and his profile matched DNA identified on samples taken during an examination of the woman.

The jury also heard evidence from a forensic examiner at the sexual assault treatment unit (SATU) where the woman was examined on the afternoon of August 9.

The witness outlined that the woman told her that the man got into the back of the car, pulled down her clothes and had sex with her.

She also said she observed a number of bruises on the woman’s thighs and an internal vaginal injury. She told the court there is no physical vaginal injury that can differentiate between consensual and non-consensual sex.

The trial continues.

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