A taxi driver who brought a woman back to a party in his apartment and raped her while she slept has been given an eight-year sentence with the last two years suspended at the Central Criminal Court today.
Mr Justice Paul Carney said that Anthony Omagufi’s position of a taxi driver was an aggravating factor as “women must be in a position to feel safe when they use a taxi, particularly late at night.”
“A taxi must be considered a place of sanctuary to get home at night, especially for single women,” said Mr Justice Carney.
Omagufi (aged 28), a Nigerian with an address at Granary Court in Mallow, Co Cork, was found guilty of raping the woman on July 26, 2009 by a jury last month following a four-day trial after he pleaded not guilty to the charge at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.
Garda Noelle McSweeney told Ms Marjorie Farrelly SC, prosecuting, at the sentence hearing in the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin that the complainant was out socialising with five of her friends and got a taxi, driven by Omagufi, to a house party.
“The taxi driver had given them his card and when the house party failed to take off they then rang him to collect them,” said Gda McSweeney.
“Discussions took place in the taxi and the group of friends agreed to go back to the home of the accused to have a party and a few drinks.”
The complainant said she fell asleep on the couch and her friends went to sleep in spare bedrooms in the apartment after the accused said they could stay the night.
The complainant told gardaí she felt herself being moved to a bigger couch by the accused who then placed a duvet over her.
She recalled waking up to find herself on her side with her backside on his crotch.
“She said his penis was penetrating her vagina,” said Gda McSweeney. The complainant said she jumped off the couch and ran into one of the bedrooms where she told her friends what had happened.
They all left the apartment and two of her male friends confronted the accused who denied anything had happened.
Ms Farrelly said the accused had “grossly misused his position as a taxi driver” and although there was “evidence indicating that he invited them back to his apartment, either way the interaction arouse out of his position as a taxi driver”.
Mr Tom Creed, SC, defending, said the accused “still maintains his innocence” and Gda McSweeney agreed with him that there was “no question of physical violence taking place.”
Mr Justice Carney declared Omagufi a sex offender and ordered that he never have contact with his victim again.