Taxi driver raped passenger after driving to country lane

Judge tells Anwar Chowdhury he 'disgracefully breached' the woman's trust.

A taxi driver who raped a passenger in the back of his car has been jailed for six years.

Anwar Chowdhury, 41, drove the woman to an isolated country road near the Culloden battlefield in Inverness-shire where he carried out the attack on August 5, 2018.

His victim, a woman in her early 30s, who had been on a night out with friends, has been left “with serious psychological effects”, the High Court in Aberdeen was told.

Chowdhury parked and had sex with her in the back of his Volkswagan Sharan taxi while she was too drunk to consent.

He later contacted a member of her family to try to persuade her to withdraw her complaint.

 Chowdhury drove the woman to an isolated country road where he carried out the attack. Photo: Police Scotland

The case has led to calls for CCTV to be fitted compulsorily in all taxis.

Judge Lord Uist said Chowdhury had “disgracefully breached the trust” that the woman had placed in him when she got into his cab.

The judge said: “A lone woman returning from a night out – particularly when they have had too much to drink – must be able to trust a taxi driver to take them home safely.

“You breached that trust in a disgraceful manner when you raped your passenger.

“You denied your guilt at your trial and in the course of the ridiculous evidence that you gave maintained not only that she consented, but that she had initiated the sexual contact and that she was happy when she left your taxi at the end of her journey.”

Imposing the six-year jail term, he added: “The crimes of which you have been convicted require a significant custodial sentence.”

Married man Chowdhury, a father-of-one from Inverness, originally from Bangladesh, was placed on the sex offenders register for life.

Advocate Graham Robertson, defending, said Chowdhury had brought “shame, dishonour and hurt” to his family.

He said: “He has let his family down and his community down, and there are consequences.”

He said Chowdhury was now “emotionally separated” from his wife – who is 25 – and suffering “extreme marital difficulties”.

Chowdhury was found guilty by a jury in November last year of raping the woman by having sex with her in the back of his taxi – when she was incapable of giving or withholding consent, and of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The Scottish Conservative’s justice spokesman Liam Kerr said Chowdhury had committed a “despicable and cowardly attack”.

He said: “One way of reassuring the public would be for councils to ensure there are CCTV cameras in taxis, which would also be helpful in providing evidence for any prosecution if it were sadly needed.

“We must do everything possible to make sure horrific incidents like this do not happen again.”

Rape Crisis Scotland added: “Taxi drivers are in a position of trust and responsibility, and it is disgraceful that anyone would abuse that.”

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