A Nigerian taxi driver pleaded guilty to assaulting a female passenger by repeatedly touching her thigh as she sat beside him on her way home after a night out.
50-year-old Yomi Matti, a married father of four, was given a three-month suspended sentence on April 1, for s*xual assault in what a judge described as the “ultimate nightmare scenario” for an unaccompanied woman in a taxi.
In a victim statement, the young woman said that she did not want to see Matti go to jail, but “didn’t want it to happen to somebody else”.
Suspending the sentence for a year, Judge David McHugh said the accused had breached his position of trust as a taxi driver “in the most profound way” and ordered that €1,100 which Matti had brought to court as a token of remorse be given to the victim, either to keep or donate to charity.
Yomi pleaded guilty to sexual assault of the woman on November 1 last year. A garda told Blanchardstown District Court the victim had taken the taxi from Harcourt Street in the early hours of November 1, 2014. She was sitting in the front passenger seat.
“On the way out, the driver touched her on the leg on a number of occasions, that is the crux of it really,” the garda said.
Reading the victim impact statement, Judge McHugh said it was a “very fair report” and the garda agreed that the victim was a “very genuine young lady”.
“Her motivation was totally unselfish in reporting the matter. She just didn’t want it to happen to somebody else.” he said.
Yomi’s solicitor said the taxi driver was originally from Nigeria, and had lived in Ireland for 15 years and had driven a taxi for six years and had no previous convictions of any kind. Before that, he had jobs as a security officer and with IBM.
He had a good work history and had never been in trouble, even for a road traffic offence. His solicitor said a conviction would have a huge effect on Yomi, his family and his livelihood.
“This gentleman admitted to sexual assault on a lady when he was given a position of trust as a taxi man and it would be the ultimate nightmare scenario for unaccompanied women in this situation,” Judge McHugh said. “It is the case that this gentleman has breached that position of trust in the most profound way with a most vulnerable young woman.”
The accused accepted the victim impact report was very fair and he had €1,100 in court for the woman as a token of his remorse. The judge said the victim had clearly stated that she has “no appetite to see this man go to jail” but she “does want justice to be done”. He commended the victim’s “forbearance”.
“It is the ultimate nightmare for any young lady,” he added. “Thankfully, there were no long-term psychological effects or physical injuries.”
Source: Independent Irish