Asif Bashir, a private hire taxi driver, has been found guilty of sexually assaulting two teenage girls in the back of his taxi in separate incidents. Remarkably, Bashir managed to avoid jail for these hideous actions and instead was sentenced to 300 hours of community service. Naturally, the parents of the victims were outraged by the decision not to jail the cab driver. They also pointed out that their daughters had been left traumatised by the assaults.
The assaults took place over 12 months apart but Bashir was eventually arrested and charged after the teenagers summoned the courage to report the incidents to the police and face their accusers. Bashir was then put on trial for both crimes. He assaulted his first victim, a 19 year old girl, in November 2009. He fondled the girl before carrying out his first sickening attack. In November 2010, another 19 year old girl was groped and attacked, this time outside her home while in his taxi.
The mother of the first victim spoke of her anguish that Bashir managed to escape a custodial sentence. She could not believe that the driver was allowed to walk free while her daughter had to leave Edinburgh because she was so traumatised. She spoke of the difficulties her daughter faced in court when she had to describe what the driver did to her. She was also concerned that Bashir could have other victims now that he is free.
The second victim’s father was irate because the driver was molesting his daughter outside of her own home. He remembers the night in question as his daughter came home in tears. He said it took over 30 minutes to calm her down and find out what happened. He then phoned the police who tracked down Bashir only to find that he had sexually assaulted another girl previously. The man referred to Bashir as a sexual predator and said it was shameful that the driver was not in jail.
According to Bashir’s defence agent, her client is innocent and saw his life in ruins because he can no longer be a taxi driver. Instead, he has become a lorry driver. Sheriff Craig McSherry was stunned by Bashir’s claim of innocence when it was clear in his opinion that Bashir was guilty since the girls have no connection with one another and the attacks came over a year apart. McSherry took into account Bashir’s lack of criminal record or else he would have given the driver two years in jail. Instead, Bashir is on supervision for 24 months, received 300 hours of community service, has been placed on the sex offender’s register and must also pay a total of £1,500 of compensation to the victims to be split 50/50.