Taxi driver groped teenage passenger

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A taxi driver twice put his hand on the leg of a teenage girl as he was bringing her home from a night out, Banbridge Magistrates Court heard last Thursday.

Michael Campbell (31), Barclay Manor, Dromara, pleaded guilty to an indecent assault on August 27 this year.

He admitted that on that date he intentionally touched a female and the touching was sexual and she did not consent.

Campbell had originally pleaded not guilty and the case was listed as a contest at last Thursday’s court.

The victim had turned up at court to give evidence but in the morning Campbell decided to change his plea to guilty.

The injured party, along with her mother, sat in court as the facts of the case were outlined by the prosecution.

The court heard that on August 27 this year at 1.30am police received a report of an indecent assault earlier that morning on an 18-year-old girl.

At 2am she had got into a taxi after she had been out socialising and when her two friends got out the driver, Campbell, invited her to sit in the front seat.

After they drove off he put his left hand on her thigh and kept it there for two to three seconds before removing it.

He also made inappropriate remarks which left the injured party feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed and scared.

Campbell then put his hand on her leg again.

The court heard she felt extremely vulnerable and frightened at this time as they were in a rural and isolated area at night.

When she got home she got out of the taxi as quickly as possible.

The teenager told her parents and the police were then contacted.

Campbell was arrested and when cautioned he made no reply.

During interview he denied touching the injured party and said it was fabrication on her part.

A barrister representing the defendant said there had been discussions with the PPS about a possible different charge but when there was no chance of that Campbell’s instructions were to plead guilty.

He added that it was never his client’s intention to call the injured party to give evidence.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, adjourned sentencing in the caase until December 17 so that a pre-sentence report on the matter could be obtained.

He also ordered a victim impact report and inquiries made to the licensing authority in relation to the defendant operating as a taxi driver.