13 Jun 2017, 2:07pm
An Uber driver has been sentenced to a minimum six years and four months in jail for raping a woman he picked up outside a Sydney nightclub.
Muhammad Naveed, 41, claimed he had consensual sex with the woman in his car in 2015, but was convicted by a jury.
During the trial, the district court heard that on the night she was raped, the woman, aged in her early 20s, had been heavily intoxicated after drinking with friends.
She had fallen asleep in the car and then awoke to realise that Naveed was on top of her.
Prosecutors said that during the incident the woman did not have the strength to push Naveed away and that she had tried to say “get off”.
In sentencing him, Judge Deborah Payne said “he must have been very aware, very early on, of her intoxicated and sleepy state”.
“He clearly took advantage … of a very vulnerable young lady.
“She was isolated in the vehicle, which she thought was a taxi and taken to a location where she was further isolated.”
“The victim was highly vulnerable because of her intoxicated state and the prisoner took full advantage of it.”
Judge Payne said Naveed had shown “neither contrition nor remorse”.
“He put forward a palpably false version of events,” she said.
She said even though Naveed had written a letter in which he said he now realised he made a “wrong decision”, there had been no clear acceptance by him of his guilt.
Because he did not give evidence at his sentencing hearing he was not able to be cross-examined about exactly what he said in the letter and what it meant, the judge said.
Naveed’s total sentence is nine years but he will be eligible for parole in June 2023.
Uber provided a statement to the ABC calling the rape a “terrible crime” and they were “grateful justice had been served”.
“Our thoughts remain with the victim and her family,” the spokesperson said.
Uber added Naveed had a “driver authorisation” which involves criminal background checks and was not on an official Uber trip when the crime was committed.