A FORMER taxi driver who attempted to kiss a female passenger and moved his hand up and down the thigh of another had his prison sentence suspended.
Swarn Singh Randhawa (54) appeared in Mandurah Magistrates Court last week and was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months.
Randhawa pleaded guilty to unlawful and indecent assault against a 21-year-old woman and unlawful and indecent assault against a 19-year-old woman when he appeared in court on May 9.
Police prosecutor Neville Palmer told the court on May 9 that both incidents occurred on the same day, minutes apart, on June 7 in 2015.
Sgt Palmer said at 4.45am, the 21-year-old victim was picked up from Smart Street taxi rank and sat in the front passenger seat.
On the way to her Dudley Park home, at a lights intersection, Randhawa leant over to place his hand on the woman’s hands before placing his hand on her inner right thigh, moving it up her legs.
He then grabbed her cheeks, tried to pull her face towards his and attempted to kiss her.
About 15 minutes later, Randhawa picked up a group of friends at Smart Street taxi rank at 5am, where the 19-year-old victim sat in the front passenger seat and was last to be dropped off.
Randhawa moved his hand up and down the 19-year-old’s thigh and told her “you’re beautiful” and “you’re a very cute girl”.
Sentencing was initially adjourned by Magistrate Anne Longden so a pre-sentence report could be conducted.
Randhawa’s defence lawyer Anton Shuli told the court the pre-sentence report was “not much assistance”.
Mr Shuli said he wanted to “clarify” initial concerns with Randhawa travelling to India after his arrest.
On June 22 in 2015, Randhawa was arrested and made certain admissions in regards to the incidents.
He later flew to India and did not appear in court until 2018.
Mr Shuli said prior to Randhawa travelling to India after his arrest, he would travel back and forth to and from the country.
“He didn’t travel to India in 2015 to avoid matters,” he said.
The defence lawyer said although the charges were serious, there were no allegations Randhawa touched either girl in a “sexual place” .
Mr Shuli told the court the taxi trips were “short” and four to six minutes long in travelling time.
“Unless you’re a 19-year-old girl trapped in a car in the early hours of the morning,” Magistrate Longden rebuked.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Mick Fallows said an immediate term of imprisonment was appropriate sentencing for Randhawa.
Magistrate Longden said she was concerned Randhawa had no real explanation for his offences.
“Theses offences are at the lower end but they were repeated on the second girl minutes after the first,” she said.
“It was not a brief touching as you leaned towards them.
“The fear they must have experienced”.