A taxi driver who raped a drunk passenger after she was put in her taxi by a police officer has been jailed.
Shibu Paul was sentenced Wednesday to seven years and six months in prison, including five years and three months without parole, by Victoria County Court.
The father-of-two covered the taxi’s internal camera and assaulted the young woman while she was crying.
On a Saturday evening in June 2018, her 23-year-old victim attended a reception where she felt drunk after drinking wine and champagne on an empty stomach.
She was refused entry to a pub and was helped by a worried policeman on leave.
The off-duty cop hailed a Silver Top cab and put it in the back seat as he climbed into the front seat.
Paul took them to the cop first.
When he was alone with the woman, he drove off, parked and covered the camera.
He asked her if she was awake and then assaulted her by touching her breasts under her clothes.
“(She) was in shock and felt unable to stop him,” a police statement read.
He moved her to the front seat and assaulted her while she was driving before pulling over and continuing the assault.
During the attack, he asked her “Do you like him? And she said no.
Paul pleaded not guilty to six counts, including rape, but was found guilty by a jury.
Judge Claire Quin said the trial was “exhausting” for the victim and added to her trauma.
âAll the lives of my friends are moving forward in exciting ways and I feel my life came to a standstill that night,â she said.
âI feel stuck there and alone. I really miss the person I was and who she could have been. I really miss the joy and spark that I had for life.
The man of Indian origin has spent 75 days in pre-trial detention. The court heard that he was depressed, anxious and isolated because he did not speak English well.
Justice Quin said Paul’s wife was sitting next to him translating as he completed a sex offender treatment program.
She said her “ingrained attitudes towards women” had undermined her progress towards empathy for victims.
Paul grew up on a farm in India and worked as a welder there and in Saudi Arabia before coming to Australia in 2008.
He and his wife, a full-time nurse, have two teenage sons.
Judge Quin said Paul hid his actions by covering the camera and the victim was scared from the moment he touched her.
“Members of the public, especially women, have the right to feel safe in a taxi that takes them home after a night out,” she said.
“You were aware of her vulnerable state and took advantage of it for your own sexual pleasure.”