A taxi driver who refused to accept a student’s kebab-soaked £10 note for religious reasons has revealed he was shunned by his local Muslim community after she lied that he sexually assaulted her.
The Daily Mail reports that Sophie Pointon, 22, whose dream was to become a police officer, falsely claimed she had been groped in the back of the cab she had been picked up in after a night out in Leeds and has been jailed for 16 months.
She rang 999 in the early hours of April 22 this year and continued the deception by signing a statement, giving an account of the ‘attack’.
Leeds Crown Court heard that the driver, a father of five, was tracked down and kept in custody for six hours. In a moving impact statement he described how the spurious accusations had left his life in tatters.
The Asian driver told the court through a personal impact statement that he was a practising Muslim - and the accusations had caused him to be shunned. He was also banned from entering the homes of his colleagues and friends. He said: “I am now extremely reluctant to take lone females in case I am accused again. The girl who accused me is the same age as my own daughter - I cannot comprehend why she made this allegation.
“I feel religiously tainted from this, and no help from the police or the courts can help that. Friends stopped speaking to me and letting me into their homes. People in my community do not even want to be seen with me.”
But the case against him never even went to court, as a telephone recording of the incident, with his taxi firm, cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Pointon pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and was jailed for 16 months last month. Kate Bisset, prosecuting, said the driver was interviewed and said he could recall Poin-ton being ‘extremely drunk’ when she got into his car holding a kebab.
He said Pointon threw a £10 note at him when they reached the Hyde Park area but he refused to accept it as it was covered in oil from the kebab. The driver said Pointon, who graduated this summer with a BA Honours in criminology from Leeds Beckett University, then became abusive and ran around the car opening doors.
The prosecutor said: “He did not think much of it at the time because such incidents with people who are intoxicated are not unusual.”
A recording of a conversation between the driver and a phone operator at his taxi office supported his account. The court heard a GPS tracker fitted to the car also revealed Pointon’s description of the taxi journey to be untrue.
Pointon broke down in tears and asked if she could drop the charges when her account was challenged by police. She pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. Denise Breen-Lawton, mitigating, said Pointon, from Manchester, had been studying in Leeds at the time. She said her hopes of becoming a police officer were now ruined.
Judge Christopher Batty told her: “Your malicious complaint has done a huge disservice to those seeking justice through the police and courts.”
The driver was stripped of his taxi licence for four weeks during the investigation into the claims. He described in a statement how the false allegation had caused him to suffer from stress.
Mmmm… What a complex situation we have here. A driver’s life is ruined because of a false claim of sexual assault. His refusal to accept the passenger’s kebab-stained £10 note on religious grounds is ? – we’ve not had that one before, but surely instead of going around slamming the taxi doors and then falsely accusing the driver of sexual assault, the passenger should have been rubbing her hands together about a free ride home! They’re both having to pay a huge price for a few moments’ madness. It’s no wonder more and more drivers are wary of taking drunk passengers anywhere - Ed.