SURREY - A Surrey cab driver has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl who he claims offered him sex because she couldn't afford to pay for her ride.
Justice Murray Blok found Wasim Asghar Malik, 47, guilty of the April 18, 2009 crime following a trial in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
There is a publication ban on identifying the victim, who had just turned 17 at the time.
Blok noted that the "sole issue" was consent. The court heard that Malik picked the girl and her friend up at about 3:30 a.m. She'd been at two house parties that night in Bridgeview, and testified she drank two beers and five one-ounce shots of whiskey
She said she got a call from a buddy who said he was at a camping party in Fort Langley. She and her friend wanted to go, but had no cash. He told them he'd pay their fare when they arrived.
She sat up front in Malik's cab while her friend passed out in the back seat. The cabbie said he thought the girls were in their 20s. They were both wearing short dresses and makeup.
They arrived in Fort Langley in about 30 minutes, the court heard, but found no party. The teen testified she began to cry because she and her friend didn't have $40 to pay for the ride, and offered the cabbie an mp3 player and digital camera as collateral. He responded that it didn't matter, and that he'd drive them home.
The cabbie testified that the girl didn't look too worried and didn't offer collateral. He said he decided it was a lonely place to leave the girls and told them he'd take them back because he was returning to Surrey anyway. He dropped her friend off near her home in Cloverdale. By this time the meter was at $98. He turned it off.
From this point, Blok noted, the cabbie and teen's stories "diverge substantially."
According to the girl's version, she told the driver to take her to Fleetwood but he took her to a house in Newton, where he told her he had to change cars and they got into a Dodge Neon. He then told her he had to stop at another house, she said. Once there, she asked if she could go to the bathroom and followed him into the house. It was pitch black.
When she came out of the bedroom, she said, she saw the cabbie naked in a bedroom, apparently changing his clothes.
She backed up, and sat on a bed in another room. "I didn't know where I was and I didn't really have a way home," she told the court, explaining why she didn't leave. "There was no real reason to be too alarmed. It's not like he had done anything."
She said the cab driver then came into the bedroom, wearing a bathrobe, and stepped into the ensuite washroom.
She said she was scared. Asked why she didn't leave, she replied "I don't know."
The girl said the cabbie sat on bed, put his arm around her and tried to kiss her but she said no and tried squirming away. She said he then pulled her to ground and her head towards his crotch.
"Come on baby please," she said he told her. "Please baby, you owe me for the cab."
The teenager testified she ran away down the street to a coffee shop, to a security guard. "I was bawling my eyes out." Her mother picked her up, and police interviewed her.
According to the cabbie's version of events, he said the girl "offered me she would do anything for me, she was not working and would do anything for me" and asked him, "Do you have any place we can go?"
Malik said he usually didn't drive his cab home because he didn't want his neighbours to know he was a taxi driver.
He picked up other car and drove home. His wife and kids were elsewhere that night.
He told the court he popped a Viagra, they kissed and she asked him what he wanted. He asked for sex but she said no, she was having her period, but she'd perform oral sex on him. After a couple seconds, he said, she stopped, told him "No, I can't do it" then calmly gathered her purse and cellphone and left. It was about 5 a.m. now.
The judge noted police found the girl nervous and shaking. He also noted she'd made "worrying" text messages and calls to friends during her time with the cabbie.
"I find the post-event emotional state of (the teen) to be strong evidence that corroborates her version of events," Blok said.
"I do not accept that this 17-year-old girl willingly engaged in a sexual act with the 47-year-old accused in order to solve the problem of the unpaid taxi fare, or for any other reason for that matter."
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