A drunk 23-year-old woman was helped into a Silver Top taxi by an off-duty police officer. After the cop was gone, taxi driver Shibu Paul raped his passenger. Picture: FileSource:News Limited
A taxi driver who raped a heavily intoxicated female passenger after she was put in his cab by a police officer has been jailed.
Shibu Paul was sentenced to seven years and six months prison, with five years and three months non-parole, in the County Court of Victoria on Wednesday.
The father of two covered the internal camera in the taxi and assaulted the young woman as she cried.
On a Saturday night in June 2018, his 23-year-old victim attended a function where she felt herself becoming drunk after drinking wine and champagne on an empty stomach.
She was refused entry to a pub and was helped by a concerned off-duty police officer.
The off-duty cop hailed a Silver Top taxi and put her in the back seat while he got in the front seat.
Paul took them to the cop’s house first.
When he was alone with the woman he drove off, parked and covered the camera.
He asked her if she was awake and then assaulted her by touching her breasts under her clothes.
“(She) was in shock and felt unable to stop him,” a police statement of facts reads.
He moved her to the front seat and assaulted her while driving before parking and continuing the assault with a digital rape.
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During the attack he asked her “Do you like it?” and she said no.
Paul pleaded not guilty to six charges, including rape, but was convicted by a jury.
Shibu Paul was on the job as a Silver Top taxi driver when he raped a woman who was trying to get home. Picture: AAP Image/Julian SmithSource:AAP
Judge Claire Quin said the trial was “draining” for the victim and added to her trauma.
“All my friends’ lives are moving forward in exciting ways and I feel my life stopped that night,” she said.
“I feel stuck there and alone. I really miss the person I was and who she might have been. I really miss the joy and spark I had for life.”
The Indian-born man has spent 75 days in jail on remand. The court was told that he was depressed, anxious and isolated due to not speaking English well.
Judge Quin said Paul’s wife had been sitting next to him translating while he completed a sex offender treatment program.
She said his “entrenched attitudes towards women” had undermined his progress towards victim empathy.
Paul was raised on a farm in India and worked as a welder there and in Saudi Arabia before coming to Australia in 2008.
He and his wife, a full-time nurse, have two teenage sons.
Judge Quin said Paul concealed his actions by covering the camera and the victim was fearful from the moment he touched her.
“Members of the public, particularly women, are entitled to feel safe in a taxi taking them home after a night out,” she said.
“You were aware of her vulnerable state and took advantage of it for your own sexual pleasure.”