Uber driver found not guilty of rape
A Brisbane Uber driver accused of raping a teenage passenger has been found not guilty after a three-day trial in Brisbane District Court.
Anil Elabithungal Thomas was charged with five counts of sexual assault, two of rape and one of attempted rape and a jury this morning delivered its verdict - not guilty on all counts.
The 16-year-old girl alleged she was raped by the driver at Manly West in July 2017 on a trip from the shops to a friend's home.
During his evidence, the driver told the jury there had been a consensual encounter between the pair after the girl propositioned him and that while they didn't have sex, he touched and kissed the girl and she gave him oral sex.
The driver said he had rebuffed the teenager twice before giving in to her advances and "lost his control" because he "couldn't resist" her.
In his final address to the jury, defence barrister Chris Wilson said while the jury may think it was "morally wrong" for the married man to cheat on his wife and with a girl so young, he said they were not there to judge morality.
Mr Wilson said in a time of political debate about immigration, he hoped the jury would not let the driver's status as an Indian immigrant affect its decision.
"I am asking you to keep any prejudice out of your deliberations that you may or may not have," he said.
Mr Wilson said his client was a reliable witness.
"What he says makes logical sense in the context of what you know about life and people," he said.
"What she says makes no sense...young people do stupid things."
The jury retired to consider its verdict at 3.30pm yesterday and returned its verdict at 11am today.