Parents demand tougher sentence for sex attack driver

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THE parents of two teenage girls who were sexually assaulted by a private hire driver in the back of his cab are campaigning to have his sentence increased after he avoided jail over the attacks.

Asif Bashir, 43, was given 300 hours of community service after being found guilty by a jury of carrying out the separate attacks a year apart.

Now the victim’s parents have filed submissions to the procurator fiscal urging an appeal be lodged against his sentence on the grounds of “undue leniency”. Both families have sent letters to the fiscal’s office highlighting Bashir’s failure to show any remorse and the lack of justice for the victims as they called for a prison term to be imposed.

Bashir, of Groathill Loan, Drylaw, was sentenced at Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Wednesday when Sheriff Craig McSherry told him he had faced two years in prison.

Instead, Bashir – who the sheriff noted was a first offender – was placed on supervision for two years and ordered to pay each victim £750 in compensation, as well as being placed on the sex offenders register.

The mother of the first victim said the compensation order had left the victims feeling they were “selling themselves” after showing the “bravery” to report the attacks to police and give intimate evidence during the trial.

She said: “Part of his defence plea was that he could no longer be a private hire driver, but he’s now a lorry driver so I don’t see how that makes the public any safer.

“The sheriff has been too lenient in this case, so we hope this appeal goes ahead. We had 48 hours to make our submission and now we have to hope that action is taken.”

The father of the second victim said that the “traumatic and degrading experience” suffered by the victims had been forgotten, while the impact on Bashir’s family had been given priority.

Before sentencing, Bashir’s defence agent spoke about her client’s partner of 13 years, who was “very concerned about the effect it will have on his and her life”.

The victim’s father said: “I was extremely upset that, in passing sentence, the sheriff can take into account possible effects on Mr Bashir’s family but did not hear of the effects this has had on the girls and their families.

“It seems that part of the reason he has avoided jail was the fact he was a first offender, but he committed two very similar crimes a year apart and was tried for them together. The second offence meant he was a repeat offender and it shows an established pattern of behaviour.

“He continues to maintain his innocence and has therefore shown no remorse for his crimes. That makes him a continued risk because, although he will be under supervision, there will be no structure in place to alter his behaviour.

“I feel that Bashir should have received a jail term and we believe that the fiscal should lodge an appeal.”

In the first attack on November 8, 2009, Bashir picked up the 19-year-old victim in George Street and had taken her home to the Haymarket area when he pounced.

He fondled the girl before touching her private parts through her clothing and then carried out a sexual assault.

On November 20 the following year, Bashir was driving another 19-year-old girl home from Edinburgh to Fife when he assaulted her outside her home, fondling her breasts and private parts through her clothes.

A Crown Office spokesman said that no-one was available to comment on the case.