Minicab driver Syed Al-Zia, 43, has been given a two year suspended jail sentence and ordered to undertake 30 hours of rehabilitation and 200 hours of unpaid work and sign the sex offenders register for 10 years for groping a female passenger and showing an 'unhealthy interest' in teenage girls. A court heard Al-Zia sexually assaulted his first victim when she took a ride in his minicab last year. The following night he then grabbed hold of a frightened teenage girl who also took a ride in his minicab. Al-Zia worked for Trafford, Manchester, private hire firm, Club Cars, and has lost his licence with immediate effect. Al-Zia assaulted his first victim after she had ordered a minicab off of an app. A court heard that Al-Zia locked the doors and began to call her cute and asking if she had a boyfriend. He asked how old she was and when she told him, he replied by say he thought she looked '15'. Al-Zia then sexually assaulted her and demanded she give him her mobile number before he would let her exit the vehicle. The victim now is said to have less trust in people and is now reluctant to order minicabs to travel in. The following night Al-Zia began flirting was two teenage girls. Sensing danger, the girls asked to be let out of the vehicle. As they were exiting, Al-Zia grabbed one of them by the arm and told her she should get back in. He only let her go when they began to phone someone. Ms Claire Brocklebank, defending Al-Zia, said:
He is a man who has worked his entire life, at a shop then as a taxi driver. He has lost his taxi licence which was an immediate punishment for him. He has lost the job he did and his livelihood. His wife has a slipped disc and when she’s ill she relies on him to do his work. He has three children and he is a full time father.”
As reported in the Manchester Evening News , Judge Bernadette Baxter addressed Al-Zia by saying:
“You know very well what you have done. You think you are entitled to do what you did, well you are not. You will have to address that. As a taxi driver you are a trusted person. When people get into a taxi they rely on who is driving the vehicle not to assault or molest them.”
Judge Baxter also added that he thought Al-Zia had an 'unhealthy interest' in teenage girls.
Al-Zia was sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court.