Uber driver accused of raping teen passenger freed of all charges after winning argument that sexual encounter was 'consensual'
A driver working with Uber, who was accused of raping a 16-year-old passenger during a ride to her friend's house, has now been found not guilty of all charges. The married man, Anil Elavithungal Thomas, who was previously charged with five counts of sexual assault, two counts of rape, and one count of attempted rape, has now been acquitted after a three-day trial in Brisbane District Court that ended on February 28.
Thomas was accused of raping the teenage passenger after he picked her up from a supermarket located in Manly West in July 2017.
In the trial, Thomas did not deny that the sexual encounter took place but argued instead that it had been consensual. He also claimed that the teen girl was the one who had propositioned him, Daily Mail reported.
Courier Mail reported that Thomas had claimed that he had rejected the teen's sexual advances in the car twice before he finally "lost control" because he "couldn't resist her". The pair allegedly did not have any intercourse but Thomas did say in the court that he kissed the girl and that she performed oral sex on him.
While giving an opening statement on February 25, prosecutors told the court that the driver had been taking the teen to her friend's house when he decided to take a detour to an isolated area that was located close to her destination. Crown prosecutor Jessica Goldie then argued that Thomas told the teen that he was going through a breakup and that he was horny. He also allegedly said that she would be able to help him.
Thomas was then alleged to have turned off the Uber meter in his vehicle before he turned to kiss the girl who was sitting in the passenger seat at the time.
Goldie then claimed that the driver proceeded to sexually assault the teen after this. The girl was finally driven to her friend's home and she filed the police report a few days later.
The driver's defense attorney asked the jury to not let the status of his client as an Indian immigrant and even his unfaithfulness to his wife be factors in hinder their judgment. He also said that Thomas' arguments made "logical sense in the context of what you know about life and people". The attorney then added that "young people do stupid things".