A Surrey taxi driver has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl two years ago.
Wasim Malik was working as a cab driver on April 18, 2009 when he was called to pick up the teen, A.B., and her friend at about 3:30 a.m. and take them from a house party in the Bridgeview neighbourhood to one in Fort Langley. The pair, who had had both been drinking, didn’t have money but a friend in Langley said he’d pay when they got there.
There is court ordered ban on publishing any information that would identify the victim.
When they arrived at the location, there was no one at the house and clearly no party.
The girls only had $20 between them and by that time the fare was about $40. A.B. testified she offered the driver a digital camera and mp3 player as collateral.
Malik denied any collateral was offered, but said the girl said she would pay him later. He testified A.B. said “she would do anything for me,” but that he paid no attention to the comment. He was concerned about leaving the teens there and since he was going back to Surrey anyways, offered to drive them.
Malik dropped off A.B.’s friend in Cloverdale. The meter, which was now somewhere between $80 and $98, was turned off at that point.
A.B. testified she told the driver she lived in the Fleetwood area, but they went to a different house in Newton where they switched cars. She still expected to be driven home, but instead, they went to a house in Fraser Heights.
“It was kind of weird, but I was still not alarmed,” she said.
At the house, the driver went inside and she asked if she could use the washroom. She said when she came out, no one was there, so she walked down the hallway to a bedroom, where she saw the cab driver naked, apparently in the process of changing clothes. She quickly went to a different bedroom.
When asked in court why she didn’t leave the house at that point, she said: “I didn’t know where I was and I didn’t really have a way home.There was no real reason to be too alarmed. It’s not like he had done anything.”
Malik came into the room wearing a bathrobe, went to the ensuite bathroom and when he came out, the girl said he sat on the bed beside her and tried to kiss her. She tried to get away, she testified, but he then pulled her to the floor and tried to get her to perform oral sex, which she refused.
She said she ended up under him on the floor, but was able to squirm free and run away. A.B. fled down the street, calling a friend along the way, until she reached a coffee shop. Her mom showed up and police were called. The teen denied ever offering to pay the cab fare with sexual favours.
The then-47-year-old taxi driver testified that after the girl’s friend was dropped off, she told him she would do anything for him and asked if there was a place they could go.
He said at that point he wasn’t sure what they would be doing at his house, but acknowledged “I was thinking it would be sex or something.”
He said he did get into his bathrobe, took a Viagra pill and the pair kissed. Malik said the girl asked him what he wanted and offered him oral sex briefly, before saying “no, I can’t do it,” and leaving.
He said the girl appeared calm and not upset, and that he called after her that he’d drive her home but that she didn’t hear. He got dressed, he said, and went to find her because it was a chilly morning.
Malik then phoned the girl (he had the number from the original dispatch). The first time, A.B. answered and hung up. Malik called a second time and told her “I am not a bad person. I want to give you a ride home.”
Malik’s trial took place in New Westminster Supreme Court during June and July. In his reasons for judgement made earlier this month but just posted online this week, Justice Murray B. Blok said he did not believe Malik’s testimony.
And while the justice said the teen was sometimes testy, impatient and argumentative during cross-examination, he found her testimony believable.
“It must be borne in mind that at the time of these events she was just 17 by one month, relatively young, and was at the end of a very long night during which she had consumed a fair bit of alcohol,” said Blok. “That she might have not known what to do when confronted with a strange situation does not seem to me to be a story unworthy of belief.”