Taxi driver jailed eight years for sex attack.
A taxi driver’s sex attack on an intoxicated and sleeping woman showed “a degree of planning, sophistication and thought”, a court has been told.
Mohammed Ahmed Khalil Daradkeh, 35, was jailed on Wednesday for eight years for the attack in Christchurch.
The 19-year-old passenger passed out in the cab, apparently because of the combination of alcohol and medication she was taking. She was put into the taxi to be delivered safely home by security staff at the Monday Room bar in central Christchurch.
Instead, Daradkeh drove her to remote area near the city’s Northern Motorway, where he partly undressed the sleeping woman and indecently assaulted and sexually violated her.
Defence counsel Rupert Glover asked the Christchurch District Court to consider the attack to be “opportunistic”, rather than premeditated.
Judge Stephen O’Driscoll disagreed: “It was clearly opportunistic against this particular victim but I think there are a number of matters that indicate to me that this wasn’t what might be described as a spontaneous sexual attack,” he said.
The judge pointed to Daradkeh’s security video camera in the car being illegally wired up so that it could be switched off, his admission that he found he had “feelings” for the passenger, his failure to contact his base or other drivers when she fell asleep, taking the taxi signs off the vehicle and driving the victim to a remote area.
“That indicates to me a degree of planning, sophistication, and thought about what you were going to do to your vulnerable passenger,” said Judge O’Driscoll.
Daradkeh was found guilty of the sex charges at a jury trial in June. He was also convicted of abducting the passenger with intent to commit sexual violation.
Prosecutor Kathy Basire said the Crown believed that the jury’s guilty verdict on the abduction charged ruled out a defence suggestion that Daradkeh could have had an honest but mistaken belief that there was consent for the sexual activity.
Glover said Daradkeh would use his time in prison to study for a Doctorate in Agriculture. He was not at risk of deportation because he had become a New Zealand citizen after migrating from Jordan eight years ago.
The defence suggested that the sentence should be reduced because of the difficulties he would face as a Muslim man in a New Zealand prison.
Judge O’Driscoll pointed to Daradkeh’s lack of remorse and his blaming of the victim. He had claimed he had been wrongly convicted and that the woman had “breached his trust” by consenting and then changing her mind.
The judge said the victim had done absolutely nothing wrong, and told Daradkeh: “I suggest you need to have a good hard look at yourself and take responsibility for this offending.”
He reduced the sentence for the man’s depressive illness – triggered by the prosecution – and his lack of previous convictions.