Calgary

Identification of cab driver at centre of Stampede sex assault trial

A Calgary woman who had been partying at the Stampede in July 2014 says she woke up to a cab driver sexually assaulting her in the backseat. She testified today at the trial of Muhammed Irshad, which began on Monday.

Trial delayed while police investigate Muhammed Irshad's alibi

A former driver with Associated Cab is on trial accused of sexually assaulting a female customer in 2014. (CBC)

A Calgary woman who had been partying at the Stampede in July 2014 says she felt "ashamed and sad" after waking up to being sexually assaulted while in the backseat of a taxi.

The complainant — whose identity is protected by a publication ban — testified at the trial of Muhammed Irshad which began in a Calgary courtroom on Monday.

After drinking at the rodeo and chuckwagon races on July 5, the woman and her friend continued the night at Milk Tiger, the Ship and Anchor and Una Pizzeria before hailing a cab on 17th Avenue S.W. around 1 a.m.

Her friend was dropped off first and then the woman says she must have passed out. When she awoke, she testified that she was being forced to perform oral sex.

'I was disoriented'

"I was disoriented and processing what had happened and who this person was," she told Crown prosecutor Melissa Bond.

The now 30-year-old woman said she was then taken home where she got out of the cab and memorized the licence plate before writing it down in her phone.

At home she says she collapsed crying on the floor of her bedroom where her boyfriend had been sleeping. He woke up and called police who arrived to begin an investigation.

"I was in shock and ashamed and sad," she said.

Last-minute alibi 

Under cross-examination, the complainant told defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli that she declined a police request she to go to hospital, did not hand over any of the clothing she'd been wearing and did not have her mouth swabbed.

No DNA was ever found as part of the investigation.

The issue at trial is identification, as Irshad claims he was not the one driving the taxi that night. The trial was nearly derailed Monday morning after Irshad told his lawyer he has an alibi for the night in question.

He says he took the cab to a mechanic and wasn't in possession of it the night of the alleged assault. His wife confirms the story, according to Iovinelli.

After the complainant's testimony, the trial was adjourned for several weeks while police investigate the new information. Earlier this year, the woman filed a lawsuit against Associated Cabs and Irshad for $250,000.

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