Augustin Ion (50) groped the woman’s breast and asked her to come into the back seat of his taxi with him after arriving outside her house. The victim had taken a taxi home instead of walking because she thought it would be safer.
A jury with an 11 to one majority rejected Ion’s claims that the woman was extremely aggressive, told him to “fuck off and drive” and refused to pay the fare.
He claimed she only made a complaint to gardaí because she thought he was going to report her for not paying him. Prosecuting counsel Eilis Brennan BL told the jury this was a “tissue of lies.”
In Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today Judge Pauline Codd said the woman came across as “an exceptionally sincere and honest type of person” and that it was an aggravating factor that Ion had “maligned” her good name.
Ion’s counsel told the court he now accepts the verdict of the jury and is very remorseful. He made an offer of €3,000 to the woman to cover counselling costs. The victim said she does not want his money.
Ion, of Garrynisk Square, Tallaght, Dublin and originally from Romania, had pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the woman outside her home on the night of November 20, 2014.
Judge Codd said it was an opportunistic but predatory crime. She noted Ion initially drove past the woman before performing a U-turn and coming back to pick her up.
Judge Codd also said Ion’s actions impacted on the reputation of the entire taxi industry and that she must impose a sentence with a “deterrent effect”.
She sentenced Ion to two years with 18 months suspended and ordered him to undergo 18 months supervision by the Probation Service.