Ottawa taxi driver charged with sexual assault of passenger
Nidal Zeiti, 52, drove Blue Line taxi for about a year before arrest on Wednesday
Ottawa police have charged a 52-year-old taxi driver with one count of sexual assault after one of his passengers complained to police last weekend.
Nidal Zeiti was arrested Wednesday after police suspected he picked up a 20-year-old woman and sexually assaulted her in his taxi.
Police said Zeiti picked up the passenger near the intersection of Bank Street and Hunt Club Road and then took the passenger to an area near Walkley and McCarthy roads. That is where he allegedly sexually assaulted her inside the vehicle.
Zeiti appeared in court Thursday around noon and duty counsel requested an Arabic translator. The CBC's Waubgeshig Rice said he was balding and wearing a blue jacket.
Zeiti has been remanded into custody and he is scheduled to have a bail hearing on Friday.
Taxi camera, GPS data aid investigation
Using GPS data, cab models and information on the drivers, police and Blue Line taxi officials were able to narrow their search from around 1,000 taxis to about 50.
They then ordered that group of taxis to come to a garage where police were waiting to examine the cameras, which are required in every taxi by a city bylaw.
It was then they found the video footage they had been looking for, giving them reason to impound a taxi.
Time had been increasingly against the police since the city’s bylaw department said images are wiped from Ottawa’s taxi cameras after five to seven days.
The amount of time that had passed since Saturday meant the data was on the verge of being erased.
The head of the company that owns Blue Line and provides tracking services to other major Ottawa taxi companies said tips from their drivers also helped with the search.
Zeiti has been working for Blue Line for just over a year.
- An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information provided by Ottawa police. Police had said they were investigating two reports of sexual assaults, within a week of each other, involving different taxi drivers. Police later said that information was incorrect. A sexual assault on Nov. 2 did not take place in a taxi and the suspect is not a taxi driver.Nov 19, 2013 10:52 AM ET