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24 January 2008

Taxi driver bailed on rape charges

20104c9ed6876a2f58ed16d65cb477b7.gifA taxi driver, charged with raping three women passengers, has been granted bail by a Sydney magistrate.

A taxi driver, charged with raping three women passengers, has been granted bail by a Sydney magistrate.

Police told Central Local Court today they had DNA evidence that linked defendant Hassan Nagi, 36, of Bexley, to attacks against a 31-year-old woman at Glebe in 2003, a 23-year-old woman in the Kings Cross area in 2006 and a 27-year-old woman at Kogarah in 2007.

Police said the severity of the assaults, allegedly made in Hassan's cab, had escalated with each attack.

However Nagi's lawyer Clive Steirn, SC, argued that sex with each of the three women had been consensual and that the alleged victims had been sex workers.

Two made accusations against his client - a married father of three - after arguments of fees for their services, he said. The other woman had complained to police because she was angry about being late for a meeting with her boyfriend.

Mr Steirn said his client had not been a cab driver when the first attack allegedly took place in 2003 and had got his taxi licence only the following year.

Police said there was no evidence to show that any of the alleged victims had been sex workers.

Nagi appeared via videolink from Silverwater Prison.

AAP reports: In granting bail, Magistrate Brian Maloney said it was not for him to make any judgment about the women's professions, nor the morality of engaging prostitutes.

Mr Maloney noted that Nagi had no prior convictions for similar offences.

"More importantly the legislature has proscribed that the these offences have a presumption in favour of bail," Mr Maloney said.
"Consequently he can have bail."

Nagi's brother was required to put up $100,000 surety.

Nagi is required live at his Bexley address, surrender his passport and not go within 500 metres of any point of international departure.

He is required to report to Kogarah police station twice a week and to surrender his taxi licence.

Paul Bibby writes: The charges are the outcome of a seven-month investigation by a special police operation, Strike Force Cashmore, which was made up of detectives from three local area commands and involved extensive DNA testing.

Superintendent Peter McErlain from the St George local area command said the testing involving comparing DNA samples from the alleged rapist with samples taken from the crime scenes.

"We matched DNA taken from the accused and matched it with DNA from the scene," Superintendent McErlain said.

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