Taxi driver accused of sexual assault tells court 'very drunk' female used him to stay warm
Seyed Mirsaeid-Ghazi took the stand in his own defence on Tuesday and said, at worst, he may have pushed his passenger away, but never sexually assaulted her.
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A Halifax taxi driver accused of sexual assaulting his passenger said in court that he pushed the woman away as she was “very drunk” while she was using him to stay warm — but files from an appeal case offer a different story.
Earlier in the trial on Monday, the court heard a different version of events from the complainant who said taxi driver Seyed Mirsaeid-Ghazi had asked her to kiss him, rubbed her leg, and put his hand onto her bare breast while driving past her destination.
The complainant, whose name is protected under a publication ban, had told the court she had about three alcoholic drinks that night and didn’t feel intoxicated.
Mirsaeid-Ghazi, speaking through a Farsi translator, said Tuesday that around midnight on Oct. 24, 2015 the complainant’s friend phoned him three times over a half-hour after he had told her he wouldn’t pick the complainant up on Windsor Street, close to Quinpool Road.
Mirsaeid-Ghazi said that he later drove towards Windsor Street with another passenger, and as he dropped them off at the Needs on that street he got the third phone call around 12:30 a.m. and couldn’t believe the complainant and her friends were still waiting for a cab in the cold.
He said the complainant got in his cab, but was acting “completely different” than when he had driven her and her friends over the past year.
The complainant then grabbed his arm, said she was cold, and wouldn’t let go while he drove the two-minute drive to her apartment, Mirsaeid-Ghazi said.
“When I noticed she wasn’t listening, I pushed her with my hand,” he said, adding this was the only physical contact he had with her.
“It wasn’t safe,” he said, referring to her holding his arm as he drove.
During cross-examination from the defence, the complainant said she was unable to remember if he had pushed her, but said he could have.
“That was not the only physical contact he made with me that night,” she said.
Under Crown cross-examination Mirsaeid-Ghazi said he has a wife and kid, doesn’t think about passengers in a sexual way, and he did not find the complainant particularly attractive.
“It’s not for me to say whether a passenger is pretty,” he said.
Mirsaeid-Ghazi also spent much of his testimony saying how intoxicated he thought the complainant was, and how she was acting completely different than she normally did.
However, the Crown read his appeal letter from May 2016 to HRM, which his brother helped him write in English, aimed at getting his taxi licence back after being arrested and charged.
In the letter he stated, through his brother’s writing, that the complainant was “slightly intoxicated” and didn’t act any different than other times he had driven her.
Mirsaeid-Ghazi said Tuesday that his brother had made a mistake, and that he didn’t pay close enough attention at the time it was written.
Closing arguments begin Thursday morning.