Indian Taxi driver who raped drunk schoolgirl in Australia loses appeal bid

Written by PTI | Melbourne | Updated: Sep 4 2014, 16:55pm hrs
An Indian taxi driver, who was jailed for six years in Australia for rape of a drunk and vulnerable 17-year-old schoolgirl, has lost his bid to overturn his conviction.

Nitin Rana, 31, was jailed for six years with a non parole period of four years after he was found guilty by the jury on threecounts of rape.

Filling an appeal against his conviction, Rana claimed that there was a miscarriage of justice and also informed the police that hehad had sex with the girl with her consent.

According to 'The Age' report, Court of Appeal Justices David Ashley and David Beach dismissed hisappeal.

Ashley said evidence from many witnesses and the CCTV footagefrom the taxi revealed the teenager was in such a state thatshe was incapable of "giving free agreement to sexualpenetration".

"In my opinion, the jury would have been perverse to concludeotherwise," Ashley said adding, "The complainant [the schoolgirl] evidenced by CCTV footage atseveral locations, was shown to be gravely disabled," he said.

Beach said the footage from the taxi showed the victim lying slumped on the back seat.

"A short time into the journey, the complainant moved into the frontseat of the taxi. Her appearance accords with a description given by one of the fourpeople who put her in the taxi as 'floppy," he said.

Following his arrest, Rana informed the police that the teenager was "actingnormally and did not seem drunk".

"She was speaking very naturally and casually," Rana told police.

He said "She didn't seem drunk at all. I remember since I picked her up untilI dropped her [off], she was all in her senses."

Beach said having viewed the CCTV footage and read theevidence given at Rana's trial, he would have concluded thatconviction in the case was "inevitable".

Rana was an international student and had arrived in Australia in 2008.

The teenager was reportedly drinking vodka at a friend's house before she took a cab with her friend to a railway station about 1am (local time) on November 4, 2012.

Her friend continued home in thetaxi after dropping her at the station.

The girl had reportedly taken anti-depressant tablets and also drank bottle of Vodka with her friend.

A group of passers-by saw her fall over trying to cross the road and called triple-0 before Rana drove up in his taxi.