Taxi driver found guilty of rape

A jury has found a Hamilton taxi driver guilty of breaking into a woman's house and raping her after he drove her home.

Dial-A-Cab taxi driver Keyse Awil Abdi, 48, had been on trial all week in the Hamilton District Court fighting charges of rape, two of unlawful sexual connection and a further charge of burglary after the incident on June 13, 2013.

The jury of six men and six women took just under five hours to reach their unanimous guilty verdicts on all four charges this afternoon.

Judge David Ruth convicted Abdi, issued a first strike warning and remanded him in custody for sentencing next month.

The victim got into Abdi's cab after a night out drinking in town with a friend. Once at her house, the woman said she opened the door and was leaning in to turn the lights on when Abdi came up behind her and pushed her to the ground before dragging her by her arms into the lounge. 

It was there that he raped her, she said.

Abdi had claimed that the sex was consensual, but crown prosecutor Jamie O'Sullivan said in her summing up that was a lie.

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."

Abdi then threw some money at her.

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.

Before sending the jury out to deliberate, Judge Ruth told the jury that Abdi didn't have to prove his innocence, rather the Crown had to prove guilt.

"It's for the crown to prove each and every part. You must be sure that he is guilty before finding him guilty. If you're not sure he must be not guilty. That's a high standard.

"It would not be enough if applied analysis that he's probably guilty or very likely guilty or deeply suspicious about what happened ... none of these prove reasonable doubt."

Reasonable doubt was a "reasonable uncertainty that might be left in your mind afterwards", he said.

He suggested they start deliberating the burglary charge first and whether there was in fact a "blitz attack" by Abdi - as purported by the crown - in pushing the complainant to the ground.

Or they could believe Abdi's version, which was that they had a personal discussion in his taxi before mutually agreeing to go inside for sex.

Waikato Times