Bangladeshi cabbie convicted of raping teen in Sydney

September 18th, 2008 - 4:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Sep 18 (IANS) A Bangladeshi student and part-time taxi driver has been convicted of raping an 18-year-old passenger and faces a maximum jail term of 14 years.Muhammad Kowsar Ali, 23, who was studying accountancy and like many students from the subcontinent driving a taxi part-time, was convicted Wednesday by a jury of nine men and three women, of raping the teenager in the back seat of the taxi.

While Ali was acquitted of robbing the 18-year-old of $100, he was convicted of raping her and on two counts of indecently assaulting her.

Judge Peter Berman, who had lifted the order suppressing the victim’s identity, was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald: “She should not be forced to hide away embarrassed as to what happened to her. She is entitled to hold her head up high and identify herself as a blameless victim of a sexual assault.”

On Nov 4 last year, Ali picked up Jessica Loiterton, who was going home to suburban Oyster Bay, from outside a Darlinghurst hotel in central Sydney past midnight. She is said to have been in a drunken state and dozing off and on.

Ali, who dragged her in the back seat and raped her, was arrested within minutes of her distraught call to the emergency helpline when she escaped.

Ali will be sentenced Nov 21 and faces a maximum jail term of 14 years with a minimum non-parole period of seven years.

Expressing relief, Loiterton told reporters: “It’s just a big relief for me at this time. It is a relief off my shoulders that this won’t happen again to anyone. It was so hard. I just didn’t want to look at him. It was very difficult to give evidence. It was hard to say it all again, to go back through it.”

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