Uber driver found not guilty
A jury took about half an hour to acquit a Gold Coast Uber driver of sexually assaulting a female passenger at her home.
Shabdal Singh, 26, pleaded not guilty in the Southport District Court on Monday to one count of burglary and two counts of sexual assault.
He was accused of sexually assaulting the woman after driving her from Broadbeach to Southport on April 2, 2019.
The jury of three women and nine men found him not guilty on all charges on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr Singh sat in the dock silent after the verdict was delivered.
Asked outside of court if he was happy to move on with his life, he simply replied "yes".
Mr Singh maintained his innocence throughout the two-day trial.
He sat quietly in the dock and when he left the courthouse at the end of each day wore a mask, sunglasses and baseball cap.
Mr Singh approached journalists during a break in proceedings on Tuesday to speak about the coverage of the matter.
On both days he did not leave for lunch, instead getting his sole supporter to get him something to eat.
The 21-year-old woman had claimed Mr Singh followed her into her home and grabbed her breast and crouch after giving her a ride home about 2am.
The court was told the woman vomited three times during the Uber ride and had fallen asleep in the car.
Mr Singh had to wake her up when he arrived at her home, the court was told.
He spoke with a thick accent when he took the stand to proclaim his innocence.
Mr Singh said he never touched the woman as she was covered in her own vomit but did admit to helping her up the stairs, into her home and to her bedroom door.
"I asked her and she approved that," he said.
Mr Singh told the court he had accepted a new Uber job while at the woman's home.
When asked point blank if he touched the woman, Mr Singh said he never touched her inappropriately.
On day one of the trial yesterday the court was told by Crown prosecutor Steve Carter that the young woman had gone out with work friends on April 1 last year.
He said she had a few drinks before becoming unwell and her friend organised an Uber ride home from Broadbeach to Southport about 1am.
Mr Carter said during the trip the woman's friend was dropped at her place, the woman had vomited and fell asleep in the back of the car.
"She was woken when she arrived home," he said.
"She got out and went inside her bedroom and after putting down her wallet saw the defendant standing just inside the doorway of her bedroom."
The jury of four women and nine men was told the woman tried to push Singh out.
Mr Carter said it was during the struggle that Singh was alleged to have assaulted the woman.
"He grabbed her everywhere, his hands were everywhere," Mr Carter told the court.
"During that struggle the defendant grabbed her on the breast … he grabbed her on the vaginal area near the thigh."
Mr Carter said the woman continued to struggle with Singh and she managed to force him into the living room.
The jury was told the woman's sister, who lived with her, saw Singh and the pair managed to make him leave.
"Immediately after (the woman) was crying and said to her sister 'he was touching me'," Mr Carter said.
Singh took the stand on Monday afternoon and said he never touched the woman inappropriately.
He told the jury he had to wake her up in the car when he arrived at the woman's home.
Singh said he helped her undo her seatbelt and she collapsed on the driveway out of the car.
He described using the torch on his phone to help him see as he helped her up the external stairs, used her keys to open the door before helping her to her bedroom.
When asked if he was invited into the home Singh replied: "I asked and she approved that."
Singh said he left to go to his next job and that there was no struggle and he was not pushed out of the home.
Asked outside of court on Tuesday if he was happy to move on with his life after being found not guilty, he simply replied "yes".