Jury retires in taxi driver rape trial

RAPE ACCUSED: Former Dial-A-Cab taxi driver Keyse Awil Abdi, 48, pictured in the Hamilton District Court during the week-long trial.
RAPE ACCUSED: Former Dial-A-Cab taxi driver Keyse Awil Abdi, 48, pictured in the Hamilton District Court during the week-long trial.

Rape-accused taxi driver Keyse Awil Abdi is both innocent and guilty if you believe the closing arguments of the Crown and defence on day four of his week-long trial.

Crown prosecutor Jamie O'Sullivan urged the jury to put Abdi's "untruthful" testimony to one side and focus on material evidence as well as the complainant's credible version of events.

O'Sullivan yesterday urged the jury to find Abdi guilty.

Defense counsel Russell Boot told the jury Abdi maintains that what took place at the Hamilton woman's home in June last year was a consensual sexual encounter and that Abdi spoke the truth while giving evidence.

Boot said the right verdict was not guilty.

Such is the predicament that six men and six women face today when Judge David Ruth sums up the evidence in the Hamilton District Court and leaves the accused's fate in their hands.

Abdi, 48, has pleaded not guilty, through a Somali translator, to one charge of rape, two of unlawful sexual connection and a further charge of burglary.

O'Sullivan closed first yesterday.

She said the jury will find Abdi's evidence so unbelievable and untruthful that it will not assist them.

She focused on points of his evidence. For example, the woman said she remained lying on the lounge floor after being raped whereas Abdi said she walked him to the door and kissed him - that's why his description of where she grabbed the door keys from was vague, she said, because it didn't happen. She focused on an answer to one of Boot's questions where Abdi ignored the question and backtracked to say he and the woman had discussed payment for sex while parked on the roadside. It was a lie he'd failed to recall correctly, she said.

There was no reason for the woman to want money either, O'Sullivan said, because she was paid well. She stressed the unlikelihood of the woman sending a distressed text to a friend a short time after the encounter then going through police interviews, a medical examination and giving evidence in court just because she regretted what happened.

O'Sullivan said there was no doubt that Abdi understood the taxi company text asking him if he'd been at the woman's address and that his explanation - that he meant to type "I don't know" and instead wrote "no" - was not credible. Likewise, with his explanation that his child had tampered with the supposedly secure digital video recording device inside his taxi rendering it useless.

When pressed under cross-examination, Boot said Abdi maintained that he'd spoken the truth about what he described as a consensual sexual encounter. Nor had the Crown proved the charges beyond reasonable doubt and the only "right and proper" verdicts were not guilty.

Abdi had "given an open and honest account" and it was "one you should accept".

"It's easy to sympathise with the complainant but you are the judges. I say if you do that, if you're true to your oath or affirmation you will find this man not guilty."

Waikato Times