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According to the hearing, CCTV captured a taxi driver accused of rape getting into the back of a car

Trial of a taxi driver accused of raping two young women in separate incidents in Dublin is still pending before the Central Criminal Court.

A man in his 50s pleaded not guilty to raping a woman in August 2022 and another in June 2022.

At the start of the case last week, the court heard that the women (now 21) had been hanging out separately in Dublin city center after work and meeting friends for drinks.

Each of the women found themselves in the defendant’s taxi after a night out, and both claim that they were raped in the car.

The first young woman to claim she was raped in June 2022 told a court last week that she was going out with colleagues when she was separated from them. She said she was raped in the back of the man’s taxi in the early morning hours of June 26, 2022.

The second young woman stated that in August of the same year she was going out for a night out with friends and planned to stay with a friend.

The accused, whose name and surname have not been disclosed for legal reasons, denies the allegations, claiming that all sexual contacts between him and each of the women took place with their consent and were initiated by them.

On Tuesday, the jury heard that after picking up a second young woman in Dublin city centre, the defendant stopped in her hometown for around seven minutes in the early morning hours of August 9, 2022. CCTV footage then captured the driver getting into the back of the car , then returned to the front seat just over six minutes later.

The young woman was then taken to a house in the north of the city and asked to pay the fare, the court heard. She told her mother that she had been raped by a taxi driver.

Jurors also heard evidence that the driver was arrested on August 22, 2022. The DNA collected from him matched the male DNA collected from the young woman’s body. After the arrest, the accused was shown CCTV footage and the young woman’s statement.

In a handwritten statement prepared for Gardaí, the accused stated that he categorically denies the allegations of rape and that the sexual contact was consensual.

The young woman said she and her friends left a nightclub in Dublin around 2:30. However, when she went to get food, she was separated from her friends and was not allowed into the restaurant where the rest of the group went.

She then decided to go home because by this stage she was tired and “pretty drunk”. She said she did not remember whether she called the taxi or whether it stopped in front of her. She testified that there was no conversation between her and the driver, and that she fell asleep after getting into the back of the car. She testified in court that after falling asleep, she woke up and found the accused “on top of her”.

In the statement, the accused claimed that on the way home the woman calmed down and he thought she had fallen asleep. He said that after arriving in her hometown, he went there to raise the ticket price and felt “ashamed and guilty” about it.

He said that when he stopped and asked the young woman where she lived, she was awake and leaned forward and kissed him on the lips. He said he was “flattered” that the younger woman showed interest in him and kissed her back.

The defendant said he asked the young woman if she wanted him to sit in the back, to which he replied yes. He claimed they began sexual intercourse and the woman kissed and smiled at him, and asked if the trip was “unpaid”. He said he thought it was a joke and replied “no it’s not.”

He claimed the sex lasted “a few minutes” and then he drove her home. The defendant said that when he arrived at her house, the young woman went to get a phone charger so she could charge her phone and pay him. Later, her mother came out and gave her money for a taxi, he added.

The defendant told gardaí that he was “ashamed” of having cheated on his wife and that he had been unfaithful before. He said he should not have asked the young woman to pay for a taxi, but there was “no reason to doubt that she was willing to participate throughout” the sexual contact.

Taking the stand, a witness from the Rotunda Hospital’s Sexual Assault Treatment Unit testified that the woman suffered internal injuries in two areas, but it was not possible to distinguish between injuries sustained during consensual and non-consensual sexual intercourse.

Last week, the first young woman in the case told the court that she had gone to several pubs with friends on the night of the alleged incident two years ago.

She described herself as “very drunk” and drank more alcohol than she was used to.

The second young woman said she went out with friends and decided to go home because she felt tired and quite drunk. She told Geraldine Small SC, prosecuting, that she did not engage in conversation with the driver and fell asleep.

She claimed that the next thing she remembered was waking up with the driver on top of her, and stated: “I realized he was having sex with me… I didn’t want him to kiss me, I turned my head to the side.”

The young woman told the hearing she was in pain and “was in shock.”

“I didn’t know how to react. At this stage I was conscious. This woke me up. I remember turning my head so he wouldn’t kiss me,” she said.

She said she didn’t believe what was happening and “didn’t know how to fight.”

She said that when the taxi driver finished, he told her to get dressed. After the incident, which, she added, lasted about five minutes, the driver took her home and asked her to pay the fee.

The woman stated that she was “flashing in and out of consciousness” and that she did not remember the man sitting next to her pulling down his pants and then hers.

“I didn’t initiate it, I didn’t consent,” she said. When asked by the defense if it was correct to say that she “didn’t remember how it started”, the woman replied: “No, I was asleep.”

The court also heard evidence from the second applicant’s mother, who told the hearing last week that her daughter had returned home at around 4 a.m. and was surprised to say she was staying overnight with friends.

She said her daughter was agitated and crying when she returned inside after paying the fare, and a few minutes later told her the taxi driver had raped her.

“I hugged her, I didn’t know what to do,” said the complainant’s mother. She later said she asked her daughter what happened, but she replied that she “didn’t say much.”

The trial continues in the Central Criminal Court.