courts

Driver accused of molesting schoolgirl

Suspect admits sending teenager messages of love on WhatsApp

16:41 February 4, 2018

Dubai: A driver has been charged with molesting a schoolgirl who hired his taxi after the student complained that he grabbed her by the hand and made repeated assertions that he loved her, a court heard on Sunday.

The 16-year-old student was said to have been travelling in the 40-year-old’s taxi for three weeks in December. The girl called the driver to pick her up from a friend’s party in Sharjah, according to records, and while on the way to her house at Dubai Healthcare City, he took her by surprise when he started telling her he loved her. Then he allegedly grabbed her hand and repeatedly said that he loved her before she pulled her hand away, records stated.

The girl’s ring came off as she pulled her hand away but the driver didn’t stop his overtures and kept repeating his love until she stepped out of the taxi once she reached home.

Records said the Pakistani driver later started bombarding the American teenager with WhatsApp messages and requested her permission to visit her place so he could kiss her. The 16-year-old responded that she was not interested in being his lover and asked him to stop disturbing her.

Later, when the driver forwarded an image of him wearing her ring on his finger on WhatsApp, the girl asked him to come to her place the next day so she could pay him the taxi fare. Accompanied by a friend of hers, the student paid the driver his tariff before asking him to accompany her to the police station to lodge a complaint.

Police later apprehended the driver.

Prosecutors charged the suspect with molesting the 16-year-old girl.

When he appeared before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Sunday, the driver pleaded not guilty and denied having grabbed her hand.

He contended before presiding judge Mohammad Jamal that he never told the student he loved her in person but admitted he had done so on WhatsApp.

The suspect provided the court with a written waiver he claimed he had obtained from the teenager and her father.

The 16-year-old testified to prosecutors that the incident happened three weeks after she had started commuting with the suspect to her school.

“One day I asked him to drive me to Sharjah for a friend’s party … then I called him to drive me back home. On the way back, he told me that he loves me and grabbed my hand. He repeatedly said ‘I love you’. When I pulled my hand away, my ring was stuck in his hand. I stepped out of his taxi and went home. He repeatedly disturbed me later on WhatsApp and constantly sent me messages telling me that he loves me. I asked him to stop,” she said.

The suspect was quoted as admitting to prosecutors that he told the girl that she was beautiful, that he loved her as a friend and that he wanted to kiss her.

A ruling will be heard on February 20.