SURREY - A Surrey cab driver found guilty of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl has been sentenced to 18 months in jail and two years probation.
The cabbie, Wasim Asghar Malik, claimed the girl had offered him sex because she couldn't afford to pay for her ride.
There's a publication ban on her name and any information identifying her.
Justice Murray Blok sentenced Malik, 49, in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. "As a taxi driver, Mr. Malik was in a position of trust in relation to his youthful passenger," Blok noted.
"All women - all people, for that matter, but women in particular - must be able to feel safe in a taxicab."
The cabbie testified at trial that he thought the girls were in their 20s.
The court heard Malik has a masters degree in statistics from a university in Pakistan, as well as an MBA. He immigrated to Canada with his wife in 1998 and has three children aged 19, 17 and 12. Blok noted Malik is a skilled cricket player, coached junior soccer, and has held important volunteer jobs at a Surrey mosque. "Friends and family describe him as a deeply religious person," Blok said. He had no criminal record prior to this.
"Mr. Malik's background and his family and community circumstances are otherwise spotless, and might even be said to be exemplary," Blok said. "He and his family have already endured an element of punishment through the shame of publicity. However, he has neither demonstrated any true insight into his behaviour, nor has he demonstrated any remorse."
The Crown had argued for a sentence of 18 to 30 months in jail and two years probation while the defence argued for one year in jail and three years probation.
The trial heard that Malik picked up the teen and her friend during the wee hours of April 18, 2009 in Bridgeview, where they had been partying and drinking.
She told the court that a friend called her and her friend up, invited them to join him at another party in Langley, and that he'd pay their cab fare once they got there.
The girls called for a cab and Malik drove them there.
But when they arrived, there was no party and no friend in sight.
Malik said he'd drive them home.
Malik told the court he decided it was a lonely place to leave the girls and told them he'd take them back to their places because he was returning to Surrey anyway.
He dropped the one girl, who'd passed out in the back seat of his cab, off near her home in Cloverdale.
The remaining girl testified he then took her to a house in Newton where he 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, toward a security guard. "I was bawling my eyes out." Her mother picked her up, and police interviewed her.