Rapist Uber driver may be deported to New Zealand

An Uber driver who took his passenger to a secluded area and raped her could be deported to New Zealand when he is released from jail.

Sakaria Taufao, 51, was given a seven-year prison sentence for the rape, which happened in Ipswich, near Brisbane in 2015, ABC reported.

The court in Taufao’s case heard he found the 18-year-old victim and offered her a “lift” while she was walking home from a nightclub. He told the woman he was an Uber driver.

But soon after getting her into his car, Taufao turned off his Uber application – disabling the GPS – and took her to an isolated area and raped her.

He later dropped her off and continued accepting driving jobs, ABC said.

In his trial, Taufao’s defence was that prosecutors had “the wrong man” and that the case was “wholly circumstantial”.

In closing submissions on Thursday, defence lawyer Dominic Nguyen said the prosecution “had the wrong man” and the case was “wholly circumstantial”.

Despite this, a jury found Taufao guilty this week on one count of rape, ABC reported.

During sentencing at the District Court in Brisbane, Judge Michael Burnett described the offending as “calculated and predatory”, saying Taufao “used and abused his role as a Uber driver to lure her into his vehicle”.

He said he had taken advantage of a “drunk and vulnerable young girl”, who he violated “in the most despicable way”.

ABC also revealed Taufao was charged with three counts of rape for another case, but was found not guilty in a trial last year.

Despite being given seven years for the offending in Ipswich, Taufao has already served 3.5 years in prison and is already eligible for parole on the matter he has just been sentenced on.

He will face deportation to New Zealand when released, ABC reported.


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