Sothisundaram Soorriyakumaran, 50 (21.03.66) of Varley Parade, Barnet was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday, 14 June for committing the sexual assault.
He received 15 months imprisonment, which was suspended for two years.
He was also given 100 hours unpaid voluntary work; a 60-day rehabilitation order; was placed on the sex offenders’ programme for 100 days; an electronic tag with a curfew between 07:00 and 19:00hrs for 60 days; has been given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order to prevent him from driving or operating as a private hire vehicle driver; and fined £3,500 court costs and to pay £1,000 compensation to the victim.
Soorriyakumaran came to the attention of the RTPC’s Cab Enforcement Unit after he sexually touched his 28-year-old passenger late on 31 July 2015 after he picked her up from a pub in Pimlico.
The passenger, who had been sat in the back seat of the minicab, asked if she could come and sit in the front seat and play her own music through the vehicle’s stereo. Soorriyakumaran agreed and pulled up along the Old Kent Road so she could do so. She got into the front of the car and began to play her music.
Soorriyakumaran leaned over and began to touch her. After a minute or to he removed his hand and drove on as if nothing had happened, leaving the woman in shock.
At Surrey Canal Road, Soorriyakumaran stopped the vehicle and leaned into the passenger, who shouted at him to stop. He told her he was sorry and that he must have misunderstood. He asked the passenger if she was OK and if he could have her number. The passenger gave a false number.
The woman was dropped on the corner of her road; she rushed home and called police.
The Cab Enforcement Unit undertook the investigation. They identified the suspect as Soorriyakumaran and arrested him in Barnet on 5 August 2015.
He was charged with sexual assault and appeared before Woolwich Crown Court on Thursday, 9 June where he pleaded not guilty. However, the evidence against him was overwhelming and he was found guilty of the offence.
Detective Superintendent Adnan Qureshi, of the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “This was an excellent result, which has seen a perpetrator of a despicable, sexually motivated offence receive a very robust and restricting sentence.
“The Roads and Transport Policing Command works closely with partners in Transport for London to deter, disrupt, and bring to justice offenders intent on committing any acts of harassment and sexual offending across London’s Transport network.
“I urge anyone who experiences any kind of assault or unwanted sexual behaviour to report it to police immediately.
“If you commit an offence on London’s transport network, we will pursue and arrest you. We will get those responsible.”
Steve Burton, TfL’s Director of Enforcement and On-Street Operations, said: “We take any report of sexual offence extremely seriously and push for the strongest penalties for any driver caught. All drivers, in both the taxi and private hire trades, undergo an enhanced DBS criminal records check before they are granted a licence and we do all we can to ensure drivers are fit and proper to carry passengers.”
Source: Met Police