Belfast taxi driver accused of rape said girl (17) came on to him, court told
A 57-year-old taxi driver accused of raping a teenage passenger told police she instigated the sexual activity and that he "gave in", a court heard yesterday.
William Harbinson is currently standing trial at Belfast Crown Court on three charges linked to an alleged incident involving the 17-year-old in the back of his taxi in September 2017.
He claimed the passenger paid him compliments, kissed him, rubbed his leg and told him "I love older men".
However, she claimed she was raped and that during the sex attack, she told him to stop as he was hurting her.
The jury of six men and six women heard the complainant was a 17-year-old virgin at the time.
Harbinson, from Highpark Crescent, denies three offences - namely rape, sexual assault and sexual assault by penetration on September 2, 2017.
A police interview conducted with the complainant two days after the alleged rape was played to the jury. When asked about the events which led to her being in Harbinson's taxi, the complainant said that on the evening of Friday, September 1, 2017 she drank two-thirds of a half-bottle of vodka getting ready, then got a taxi to a sports club for her friend's birthday.
She consumed a couple more beers before getting a taxi with friends to the Kremlin nightclub in Belfast at around 11.30pm.
The complainant said at this point she was drunk, and switched to drinking water as she had had enough alcohol.
In the interview, the complainant said that after she fell in the club she was given a warning by the bouncers, and was asked to leave at around 1.30am after spilling a drink. The complainant said that once outside, she tried calling a few taxi companies but couldn't get one.
She then walked over to St Anne's Cathedral and called a friend before walking back to the Kremlin to try and meet her other friends. She said she noticed a white taxi sitting outside the club, and that after asking the driver if he was free, she then got into the passenger's seat.
The complainant told the police: "He started talking to me and he was complimenting me on my appearance and I awkwardly laughed.
"I told him I was going to an after-party and he said he had tins of Carlsberg in the back and that I should climb in and get them."
She said she climbed in the back and couldn't see any beer - and at this point the driver stopped the car and opened his boot before getting into the back seat via the driver's side.
She also told police: "He pushed me and I hit the back of my neck off the car door. Then he grabbed my wrists and started taking my trousers off."
The complainant said "I kind of froze" and that during the incident she repeatedly told him to stop. She said at one point during her five-minute ordeal, she told him he was hurting her.
She said that after the attack came to an end, he got back into the driver's seat and took her to her destination.
In the interview, she said: "When I arrived, the meter said £36 and it's usually around £10. When we got there, he said, 'You don't have to pay' and I got out."
The complainant said that when she told her friend what had just happened, the police were called.
An investigation was launched and Harbinson was arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault. He told police that after picking the complainant up, he offered her a beer. He said she then kissed him on his cheek, said complimentary things to him and rubbed his leg.
Harbinson also told police he "gave in and asked if she wanted to go somewhere" and that he suggested they go to Glencairn where she instigated sexual activity. The defendant also claimed she told him 'I love older men and my friends like wee boys' and made the case that the sexual activity was with her consent.