Weather Icon 8.9°C Overcast
Jury acquits taxi driver on all sex assault charges
Wednesday 21st June 2017 @ 17:16 by Nigel P.
News Stalybridge Tameside




Location of Castle Street where it was alleged the young woman was attacked. Today a jury at Minshull Street Crown Court acquitted Mudassar Raja of all charges. 



Mudassar Raja the taxi driver accused of three counts of sexual assault, including one of rape has been found ‘Not Guilty’ of all the charges against him at Minshull Street Crown Court.

The jury of seven women and five men returned a unanimous verdict at 15 54 pm (21/6/2017) after being sent out yesterday afternoon and deliberating all day today and Judge Sarah Baxter told the defendant he was acquitted.

The charges were brought, when a young woman returning from a night of celebrating the 2016 New Year in Stalybridge, thought she  had been attacked while she was in a drunken state by the taxi driver that had taken her home.

In interview and in court the woman admitted her memory of events was impaired by her large consumption of alcohol, but she felt sure she was correct that she had been sexually assaulted.

CCTV showed  her getting into Mr Raja’s taxi in the early hours of New Year’s Day on Armentieres Square, after celebrating at Ko Ko Lounge in Stalybridge.

That was the first time she got into Raja’s taxi, but she was dropped backed at her pick up point a short time later, when she could not tell him where she wanted to go.

The woman got into the same cab an hour later, claiming to be the person who had booked the taxi through the cab company. (Though in fact the taxi had been booked by another woman)

She was driven around for over an hour while she tried to locate somebody, who she thought, might have her missing house keys that she had lost, and then later  she had difficulty remembering where she lived.

During the time she was being driven around the taxi stopped at a car park on Castle Street in Stalybridge where the woman answered a call of nature. It was at this location the prosecution alleged the woman had been assaulted.

This put Mr Raja into the frame and he was arrested and questioned a month later.

The court heard that  following his arrest Mr Raja was helpful and forthcoming throughout his first and subsequent interviews ignoring his right to remain silent because in his words in court “he had nothing to hide.”

The court was also told that no DNA evidence linked to Mr Raja had been recovered from the young woman’s clothes that had undergone forensic testing.

On leaving the court Mr Raja said he felt overwhelmed and was now ‘looking forward to getting back to his wife and four children and a normal life.’

His brother Tariq said he “Wanted to thank the jury and his brother’s defence counsel Mr Banty Batra for all his hard work.”

Asked whether his brother would return to his taxi job he said: “It is too early to make a decision on that, we will have to sit down and think it all through.”