x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Taxi driver denies attack on schoolgirl, 12

A 12-year-old girl has accused a taxi driver of molesting her on her way to school in his cab, but the driver says she was upset at not being allowed to play loud music.

DUBAI // A taxi driver accused of the statutory rape of a 12-year-old girl on her way to school denied the charge yesterday.

AS, 35, "terrorised" and inappropriately touched the girl as he drove her from her home to school, prosecutors say.

The girl told prosecutors that a taxi was called to collect her from her home near Dubailand at 7am on October 19 last year. She said when she was in the vehicle, the driver repeatedly touched her.

"I was scared as this has never happened to me before and I told him to stop. He did it again and I was screaming at him. I was terrified," she said.

After reaching the American School Dubai in Garhoud, the Iranian girl paid AS his fare and reported the incident to her principal, prosecutors say.

AS, a Dubai Taxi Company driver from India, denied the sexual assault when he appeared at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance. He told investigators that the girl got into the cab and loudly played music, spurring him to turn off the radio.

AS claimed that she had been upset when he turned off the music, and that she eventually fell asleep.

He said that when he tapped the girl on her shoulder to wake her up, she screamed and ran away.

The court adjourned the case to February 7.

amustafa@thenational.ae