Taxi driver accused of rape

A taxi driver dropped a woman at her home before forcing his way inside and raping her on the lounge floor, the Crown has alleged.

Keyse Awil Abdi is on trial in the Hamilton District Court on one charge of rape, two of unlawful sexual connection and a further charge of burglary.

Abdi pleaded not guilty, through a Somalian interpreter, to the jury of six men and six women yesterday.

In her opening address Crown prosecutor Jamie O'Sullivan said the jury must first decide whether the act occurred and whether Abdi did it. From there the issue revolved around consent. The Crown must prove that Abdi did not believe she was consenting. And even if he did believe that, if the Crown convinced the jury the accused didn't do so on reasonable grounds then they should find him guilty.

The night in question was June 14 last year. The woman, a 29-year-old professional, was out in central Hamilton when she hailed a taxi.

O'Sullivan said Abdi asked who the woman lived with and she replied she lived alone.

He asked whether or not he would make a good boyfriend and she replied that she'd have to get to know him better first. He also asked if he could come inside, but she said no.

O'Sullivan said the woman stepped out of the taxi and went to her front door when Abdi came up behind her and pushed her. She landed face down. Abdi allegedly grabbed her arms and dragged her into the dark lounge where he raped her, forced her to perform oral sex and and digitally penetrated her. O'Sullivan said she tried to fight him off unsuccessfully. "She kicked and flailed around. She's quite a small person compared to the accused who is a tall man."

The woman's police interview was played to the court. Once Abdi was finished, the woman remembered that: "He said, oh, I'll pay you for this and threw some money at me and said I can come by any time I want."

Investigators contacted the taxi company involved who sent a text to all staff asking if they were working at the time.

Thirty minutes later, Abdi said in a text that he wasn't.

Video recordings are taken from inside taxi cabs but when police searched Abdi's car they found the device had been tampered with, O'Sullivan said.

The storage card had been "forcefully damaged".

Experts could not retrieve footage, yet GPS records showed Abdi was at the woman's address from 2.30am till 2.48am.

O'Sullivan said semen swabbed from the woman's address showed strong scientific support that it came from Abdi. The trial continues today.

Waikato Times