Taxi driver avoids jail for assaults on teenage girls

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A PRIVATE hire driver sexually assaulted two teenage girls he was driving home in separate attacks in the back of his cab.

Asif Bashir avoided jail and was sentenced to 300 hours of community service after being found guilty by a jury of the sickening assaults.

The parents of the victims today branded the decision not to jail Bashir as “absolutely disgusting”, adding that their daughters had been traumatised by their ordeals.

Bashir, 43, of Groathill Loan in Drylaw, was caught by police after the teenagers reported the assaults, which took place just over a year apart, and he was put on trial for both crimes together.

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

He fondled the girl before touching her private parts through her clothing then carrying out a sexual assault. On November 20 the following year, Bashir was driving another 19-year-old girl home from Edinburgh to Inverkeithing when he assaulted her outside her home, fondling her breasts and private parts through her clothes.

After watching Bashir escape a jail sentence at Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday, the mother of the first victim said: “It’s absolutely disgusting that he was not jailed. My daughter had to move away from Edinburgh because she was so traumatised by what happened.

“There could be other victims out there, and society needs to be protected from him. My daughter also had to come to court and describe what happened to her.”

The father of the second victim said: “He started molesting [my daughter] right outside our front door. When she came in she was crying hysterically.

“It took about half an hour to calm her down and find out what happened then we contacted police.

“They traced Bashir and found this was the second girl who had suffered pretty much exactly the same offence. He’s a sexual predator and it’s a disgrace he was not jailed.”

Bashir’s defence agent said her client continued to protest his innocence. She added that Bashir, who was been in a relationship with his partner for 13 years, had lost any chance of employment as a private hire driver, and was now working as a lorry driver instead.

Sheriff Craig McSherry said Bashir’s decision to maintain his innocence when “two young women with no connection to each other, who did not know one other, came to court with very similar stories” as “bizarre”. Sheriff McSherry said Bashir had been facing two years in prison but took into account he was a first offender.

Bashir was placed on supervision for two years, given 300 hours of community service, ordered to pay each victim £750 in compensation, and placed on the sex offender’s register.