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End of the road Gardai remove taxi driver's licence after sexual assault conviction

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court had heard how Kudia kissed a female passenger, forcibly inserting his tongue into her mouth, without her consent as she was collecting her bag from his car.

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Our reporter talking to driver Kusika Kudia.

Our reporter talking to driver Kusika Kudia.

Our reporter talking to driver Kusika Kudia.

Gardai have removed the licence of a taxi driver who was pictured by the Sunday World back behind the wheel of his taxi, just two days after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a passenger.

Our exclusive pictures showed how Kusika Kudia was driving his taxi in Dublin's southside on Friday of last week.

When we confronted him, Kudia told us no one had ­mentioned to him that his conviction meant he was unfit to carry passengers.

Just two days earlier, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court had heard how Kudia kissed a female passenger, forcibly inserting his tongue into her mouth, without her consent as she was collecting her bag from his car.

The 55-year-old, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman outside her Dublin home on February 13, 2020.

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How we revealed the story.

How we revealed the story.

How we revealed the story.

Garda Mark Paul told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that the woman got into Kudia's taxi with a friend following a night out in Dublin.

Her friend was dropped off before she directed Kudia to take her to her home. She said during the journey she checked if he ­accepted card payment and when he said that he did not, she asked to stop at an ATM to withdraw cash.

On her return to the taxi, Kudia asked her to sit in the front seat beside him rather than in the back as she had been doing.

She refused but Kudia asked her to move again.

On arriving at her home, she got out of the car but then noticed that Kudia had got out too.

She later told gardaí that he ­approached her and asked for a hug and to "come back with me".

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She refused but he wrapped his arms around her and "got a good hold of her".

Once she realised that he had a strong hold of her she said "no, in a meaningful way" and tried to elbow him but he pushed his face towards her and forced his tongue into her mouth.

The woman said she then went into "survival mode" and managed to get away from Kudia and get into her house.

The fact that Kudia was back on the road carrying passengers just two days after such a conviction led to widespread outrage. But also, gardaí visited Kudia and took possession of his licence almost immediately.

In a statement to the Sunday World this week, a spokesperson told us: "Section 30 of The Taxi Regulation Act 2013 provides a schedule of offences on conviction on indictment that invoke a mandatory disqualification from holding a SPSV licence.

"Section 30(4) provides that the disqualification under this section takes effect on the expiration of the ordinary time for bringing an appeal against the conviction concerned.

"While the responsibility to cease operating as an SPSV license holder rests immediately with the convicted person the Garda Carriage Office, on receipt of notification of such conviction, serves a notification on the SPSV holder.

"An Garda Síochána has engaged with a taxi driver subject of a recent conviction on indictment, has informed him of the legal position and has taken possession of his SPSV licence issued by the Carriage Office."

Kudia's details have now been removed from Transport of Ireland's 'Driver Check' app.

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