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The taxi driver convicted of rape: Accused’s account of events was ‘ludicrous’ and a ‘farce’, court heard

The man’s job was to bring each woman home safely, but instead he ‘preyed’ on their vulnerabilities, prosecution told the Central Criminal Court

Raymond Shorten (50), the taxi driver found guilty of rape.

The taxi, its roof sign and door stickers visible, was parked on a busy Dublin street in the early hours.

A young woman, who had been on a night out with friends in August 2022, approached the taxi, spoke to the driver, and then got into the back.

The car drove off, and a CCTV montage of its route towards the woman’s hometown was played for the jury at the Central Criminal Court where the driver was on trial for raping the young woman.

The taxi stopped on another road, where it would remain for about seven minutes. The driver could be seen getting out and then getting into the rear passenger side.


Just over six minutes later, the driver got out. The car is seen driving off shortly afterwards.

In her evidence to the jury, the woman said she had been drinking and fell asleep in the taxi. She said she woke up in the taxi and found the driver raping her. That was on August 9th, 2022.

The taxi driver denied the charge of raping this woman, as well as a charge of raping another young woman in his taxi on June 26th, 2022.

He was convicted of three counts in total: two counts – rape and anal rape – on June 26th and one count of rape on August 9th.

The women were not known to each other but they gave similar evidence. They had both been out socialising.

The taxi driver claimed there was consensual sexual contact between him and both women, which they initiated.

On his conviction by a jury on Friday, he can be named as Raymond Shorten (50) of Melrose Crescent, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.

The Central Criminal Court was told the two women who were raped were close in age at the time. The first was 19 and the second aged 20.

In her evidence, the first woman said she had drunk five pints of cider, an amount she wasn’t used to, on the night of June 25th, 2022. She described gaps in her memory of her journey home and recalled waking up in the early hours in the front passenger seat of a car. She said she felt very dazed, and her eyes were heavy.

She said a man was driving, then the car stopped. He later moved her to the back seat, where he raped her. She said it was very sore, and she was falling in and out of consciousness. When he finished, the man got back into the driver’s seat and dropped her near her home.

Under cross-examination, the woman accepted there were issues with her memory of that night but rejected the defence’s contention that she participated in consensual sexual activity with the man.

The second woman described going for drinks in Dublin city centre on August 8th, 2022. She was supposed to stay over with a friend, but feeling tired and drunk, she decided to get a taxi home.

The woman said she fell asleep in the taxi’s back seat, and the next thing she remembered was waking up to the taxi driver raping her. She said she was in shock and couldn’t believe what was happening.

Afterwards, he dropped her home, where he asked her to pay the fare.

Her phone had died, and she got a charger from the house. One of her parents paid the fare in cash.

During her testimony, the woman became upset as she recounted her parents asking questions after she returned to the house. She said she told them what had happened.

Under cross-examination, she denied the defence’s contention that there was mutual kissing and consensual sexual activity.

Her mother also described her surprise when her daughter arrived home that night. Her daughter was agitated and crying after the taxi left. She said she noticed the zip on her daughter’s jeans was open.

She said her daughter told her the taxi driver had raped her. The complainant’s mother was emotional during her testimony as she recalled replying, “as in him?”. She said she thought she was going to get sick.

Shorten didn’t give evidence during the trial, but two separate statements provided to gardaí following his arrests were read out. He said he pulled the car in to check the first woman’s address, and she kissed him after saying he was cute.

He claimed they kissed and engaged in consensual sexual acts before the woman got into the taxi’s back seat, where there was further consensual contact.

He said he assumed the second woman fell asleep during the journey but noticed she was awake when he pulled in to check her address. He claimed she leaned forward and kissed him, and then they had consensual sex in the back seat.

He said the woman was smiling and kissing him, then asked, “Was this off the bill?” He said he thought it was a joke and replied, “No, it’s not,” in a joking manner.

The man said he drove her home afterwards.

Gardaí investigated both incidents and identified the taxi which was leased to Shorten. The vehicle had a tracker installed, and GPS location data relating to the nights of June 25th and August 8th was provided to gardaí.

In the CCTV footage played for the jury, the first woman could be seen walking on a Dublin street, at one point, dragging a black rubbish bag. The taxi did two U-turns on the road, then stopped beside her. The woman got in before the vehicle drove away.

A 30-minute montage showed the taxi on the night of August 8th and the second woman getting into it. The taxi’s movements after the woman was dropped home were also shown to the jury.

Messages of a sexual nature between the man and other women were retrieved from his phone.

Three other women gave evidence on behalf of the defence. They said they had consensual sex with the same taxi driver in the back of his car on other occasions. One of these women said if she were sober, she would not have had sex with him because she didn’t find him attractive and he was older than her.

In her closing speech to the jury, prosecuting senior counsel Gerardine Small submitted there was an “inherent unlikelihood” that two young women would make similar allegations about the same man within a short period of time. She suggested the man’s account was “ludicrous” and a “farce”.

Ms Small said the man’s job was to bring each woman home safely, but instead he “preyed” on their vulnerabilities and their state of intoxication to have sexual intercourse “without their consent, knowing full well what he was doing”.

Defence senior counsel Lorcan Staines SC told the jury the case was not about morals nor the appropriateness of his client’s actions.

He suggested there were flaws in the prosecution’s case, including memory issues. He told jurors if they accepted his client’s account was reasonably possible, they must give him the benefit of the doubt.

Mr Staines concluded by saying a not-guilty verdict only meant that there was reasonable doubt, not that the man was innocent or his behaviour appropriate.

The jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts after a total of 76 minutes of deliberation.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott thanked the jury for their care and attention during the six days of the trial and remanded Shorten in custody to be sentenced on July 1st.

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