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ACQUITTAL FOR TAXI
DRIVER ACCUSED OF RAPE

A Calderdale taxi driver, Ghulam Baqir, 50, of Todmorden, has been acquitted at Bradford Crown Court of raping a 24-year-old passenger.

Earlier in the proceedings, the court was told that the alleged attack took place on 19th May after Mr Baqir, who was employed by Kings Private Hire of Todmorden, received a call at 12.30 a.m. to pick up the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, from the Rope and Anchor public house. Witnesses heard the woman say "Oh no, not him" when Baqir, who is nicknamed Johnny, arrived.
Nevertheless, she got into the car with the intention of going to a friend's house. The woman then claimed that, after driving off, Baqir took a wrong turning.
Sarah Barlow, prosecuting, told the court: "At that stage nothing was said but she began to panic. She looked for a way out of the car but there was no way out. There were no window winders and she could not find the handle of the door."
Baqir then pulled into a lay-by, got into the back seat with the woman and grabbed her. “She was saying 'No' and there was something of a struggle," the court heard. The woman's jacket was torn as she tried to push him off but Baqir managed to pull down her jeans.
Miss Barlow went on: "She gave up. She formed the view she was not going to get out of that car unless he got what he wanted." Baqir then allegedly raped her, with the woman claiming she continued to protest during the attack.
Baqir denied raping the woman and refuted her account of the events. He told the court that she had refused to get out of his cab when they arrived at her friend's house and claims she directed him to a remote moorland lay-by for consensual sex.
The taxi driver went on: "She got into the back seat and took her clothes off. What else could I do?"
Baqir said he removed his jeans and trainers before getting out of the car, took his underpants off at the roadside and then got in to the back of the vehicle.
Stephen Uttley, acting for Baqir, asked him: "Did she consent to that sexual intercourse? Did she ever say ‘No’?" Baqir replied: "No, she did not say anything."
Afterwards, Baqir claimed he drove her to her destination where she asked him for 25. He said he gave her 15 ‘for a drink’. The woman asked him not to tell her father because he would go ‘mad’. It was alleged that Baqir had dropped the woman off in a quiet spot, from where she had to walk to a friend's home to get help. She told the friend she had been raped and the police were called immediately. Baqir was later arrested at around 1.20 a.m. and told police the woman had asked him if he wanted to have sex. The grey Calvin Kleins were recovered from the pocket of his denim jacket when he was arrested less than two hours after the alleged attack.
Cross-examining Baqir, Sarah Barlow asked him to explain why his underpants had been found in his jacket pocket. "Is that because, when you went to pick her up from the pub, you knew what you were going to do and to make it a bit easier, you took them off?" Baqir denied this, repeating that he had removed them only after the woman asked him if he wanted sex. But Miss Barlow persisted: "As soon as you knew you were picking her up from the pub that night, you already knew what you were going to do with her and more than knowing what you were going to do with her, you had actually prepared for it. Mr Baqir, you are not telling us the truth, are you? "I suggest you knew exactly what you were about. You knew who she was, what she looked like and you knew you wanted sex with her and went there prepared to do it. You took her to a secluded spot on the tops and forced her into sex." Baqir again denied the allegation, explaining that he had not put his underpants back on due to insufficient time because the woman said she wanted to go home.
Mr Baqir, a resident of Todmorden for over twenty years, claimed he was shocked by the woman's behaviour. He told the court he could not understand why she made an allegation of rape to the police.
The jury of nine women and three men returned the unanimous not guilty verdict after deliberating for less than half an hour.

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