Taxi driver cleared of groping teen

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A TAXI driver accused by a teenage girl of groping her in his cab has won a fight to clear his name.

Jamil Iqbal was alleged by the girl to have put his hand down her top and inside her bra during the journey on her 16th birthday in 2010. The complainant had alleged Mr Iqbal had asked her for a hug, had then touched her and she had “shoved him off.” According to the girl, the defendant had then asked her : “Can I touch you one more time, please?” and had told her: “I have a nice body.”

Mr Iqbal (40), a father-of-six, working for Crown Taxis, had gone on trial last week at Burnley Crown Court, facing an allegation of sexual assault. The defendant, of Humphrey Street, Brierfield, had denied the charge and had been found not guilty by the jury. Mr Iqbal, who has no criminal convictions, was discharged from the dock by Judge Simon Newell.

The court had heard claims the alleged assault happened after the girl’s mother had got out of the taxi. The complainant, who had been drinking cider to celebrate her birthday, had gone to the police the next day and made the allegation against Mr Iqbal.

Giving evidence, the defendant had told the jury that the girl had been in the back of the vehicle, had leant forward into the front and he had pushed her back, gently, on her shoulder.

In his speech to the jury, the defendant’s barrister Mr Simeon Evans had said Mr Iqbal was a man of good character. He continued: “There has never been a complaint made against him while working for Crown Taxis.”

He said Mr Iqbal’s only income had been from taxi driving and he would have been taking “an enormous risk” if the girl’s claims were true. Mr Evans suggested: “This was a drunken, giggly girl, behaving in a silly way. He pushed her away.”