Tongatapu taxi driver on trial accused of sexually assaulting passenger

    Lolotonga hopo'i 'a e faka'uli tekisī ko Manase Fa'uvao mei Ma'ufanga' ki he tukuaki'i ne ne fakamālohi'i ha fefine mei Houma 'i 'Okatopa ta'u kuo 'osi'.

    A Tongatapu taxi driver was on trial last week accused of sexually assaulting a passenger he was taking home after her work.

    Manase Fa’uvao of Ma’ufanga denied two counts of sexual assault, the Kakalu ‘o Tonga newspaper has reported.

    However, according to the paper, Fa’uvao’s denial was undermined by some of the comments he made in court in response to the plaintiff’s claims against him during the hearing.

    The Nuku’alofa Supreme Court heard that the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was picked up from her work by Mr Fa’uvao at around 11.30pm on 23 October 2017.

    Justice Laki Niu was told that on the night of the alleged incident, Mr Fa’uvao picked up the woman and began the journey to Houma.

    The woman claimed that at one stage during the journey, Mr Fa’uvao asked about her marital status and said ‘he loves her’.

    She claimed Mr Fa’uvao took her to a bush allotment near ‘Atele.

    She also claimed Mr Fa’uvao moved from the driver’s seat to the back seat at which she was sitting. She alleged he touched her inappropriately and made sexual advances towards her.

    After the alleged sexual assault he took her to her home, the court heard, according to the paper.

    When she arrived home she contacted Police about the incident.

    Mr Fa’uvao was arrested the same night, Justice Niu heard.

    The court heard he told police the sex was consensual.

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