An Uber driver accused of raping a teen in his car allegedly kept the young woman’s driver’s license for two years.
An Uber driver accused of raping a teen in his car allegedly kept the young woman’s driver’s license for two years.

Uber driver on trial for alleged rape of teen passenger

An Uber driver accused of raping an 18-year-old in the back seat of his car allegedly kept the young woman's driver's license for two years, a court has heard.

Sakaria Taufao, 50, of Springfield, is on trial in the Brisbane District Court and has pleaded not guilty to one count of rape.

Mr Taufao allegedly offered the 18-year-old woman a lift after he noticed her walking back from Club Metro at Ipswich around midnight on September 5, 2015.

Sakaria Taufao is on trial in the Brisbane District Court and has pleaded not guilty to rape. Photo: Facebook.
Sakaria Taufao is on trial in the Brisbane District Court and has pleaded not guilty to rape. Photo: Facebook.

During his opening address, prosecutor Michael Gawrych told the court that the young woman "reluctantly agreed" to the lift after Mr Taufao told her he was an Uber driver.

But instead of taking her to Fortitude Valley as she asked, Mr Taufao allegedly drove her down a dark, dirt road in Redbank Plains which was surrounded by trees.

"The driver stopped the car and told her to get to the back seat," Mr Gawrych said.

Mr Gawrych said Mr Taufao then pulled down her underwear and raped her, ejaculating onto the ground outside of the vehicle.

 

Sakaria Taufao denies raping the 18-year-old woman.
Sakaria Taufao denies raping the 18-year-old woman.

"He told her to get into the front seat and she did, and he drove her to The Valley," Mr Gawrych said.

"Once they arrived, he told her to get out of the car and he drove away."

The court heard the young woman made a number of disclosures to family members, but it was not until Queensland Police contacted the young woman in July 2017 that a criminal complaint was made.

Mr Gawrych told the court police officers had found the young woman's driver's license during a search of Mr Taufao's BMW sedan.

"The Crown alleges that this was dropped by her during the commission of the rape in the defendant's vehicle and kept by him," Mr Gawrych said.

During the four-day trial, the jury is expected to hear evidence from mapping experts and an Uber employee.

Mr Gawrych told the court Mr Taufao allegedly turned off his Uber app for more than one hour at the same time that the rape was alleged to have occurred.

"There is also no data in his account to show how he got from Ipswich to The Valley," Mr Gawrych said.

Mr Taufao is being represented by barrister Dominic Nguyen, who did not make an opening statement.

The trial continues before Judge Michael Burnett.

Originally published as Uber driver on trial for raping teen passenger


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