Saturday, September 5, 2009

Woman falls to floor, cries uncontrollably, after conviction for lying that cabbie sexually assaulted her

Here is the update to the story we reported yesterday. It took the jury less than one hour to convict Rosie Waggett of falsely accusing a cabbie of sexual assault. The presiding judge said her actions had been "callous, clinical, warped and wicked" and he could see no alternative to custody.

Teenager collapses in court after being convicted of false sex assault claim

A TEENAGER collapsed in court as she was convicted of falsely accusing a taxi driver of sexually assaulting her.

As a jury at the trial of Rosie Waggett returned the unanimous guilty verdict, after deliberating for less than an hour yesterday, the 18-year-old fell to the floor, crying uncontrollably.

Judge David Pugsley said he believed the image of cab driver Mohammed Afsar, who broke down in tears in the witness stand during the trial, would "haunt the memory of the jury for a very long time".

During the trial, the jury heard how Waggett claimed the driver had grabbed her thigh on a taxi journey home and made sexual remarks.

She made the allegation at about 6.30am on January 17. Mr Afsar was arrested shortly afterwards and kept in police custody for nine hours.

Judge Pugsley said: "This was not an allegation of rape, it was an allegation of sexual assault but the nature of such allegations always have grave consequences. It is likely he would have lost his liberty and almost definitely his taxi job."

Remanding Waggett in custody, Judge Pugsley said her actions had been "callous, clinical, warped and wicked" and he could see no alternative to custody.

She will be sentenced next month.

Waggett had told police that Mr Afsar had grabbed her leg and said: "If I don't get my money off you, I don't get sex off my wife. If I don't get sex off her then I have to get it somewhere."

Abi Joyce, prosecuting, said Waggett had tried to avoid paying the taxi fare.

Miss Joyce said the teenager only had 49p when she got into the taxi and had told an acquaintance that if she was made to pay the full fare she would say the driver had tried to rape her.

Troy Muir, the acquaintance, told the jury he had been with Waggett at a mutual friend's house in Willson Avenue, Littleover, when she was picked up by PJ Cars employee Mr Afsar.

Mr Muir said: "She said she didn't have any money, so I asked how she was going to pay for the taxi. She said, 'well if he (the taxi driver) asks me about the money I'll just say he tried to rape me."

When Miss Joyce asked how she had said this, Mr Muir said: "She just said it casually. I didn't think she was really being serious but it didn't seem like a joke."

Later, Miss Joyce, while cross-examining Waggett, said: "You planned all along to make the allegation against whichever taxi driver turned up that night to avoid having to pay the fare and you were drunk."

Waggett, of Ednaston Avenue, Littleover, denied perverting the course of justice and maintained she was telling the truth about the assault. She also denied making the comments to Mr Muir and being drunk.

When the taxi arrived at her Ednaston Avenue home, she told Mr Afsar to wait while she got more money, the jury was told.

Her mum Andrea Waggett, giving evidence in court, said she was woken up by her daughter screaming and shouting for her in the street and banging on the front door.

Miss Joyce said that moments later two men came from the address and assaulted Mr Afsar, who is a father-of-three.

Police arrived shortly after this incident and arrested Mr Afsar.