Christchurch, NZ — A Filipino taxi driver was sentenced to six years and six months of imprisonment for the rape of an intoxicated girl he was driving home.
Moses Gengo-Yon Ravanes, the driver, wept all through the Christchurch District Court and denied all allegations.
Crown Prosecutor Mitchell McClenaghan states that Mr. Ravanes was responsible for giving the woman a safe ride home.
“She didn’t receive that. She was raped,” he told Judge Paul Kellar, who presided over the four-day trial. The prosecutor furthered that the driver “took advantage of a drunk girl in an Uber”.
Evidence supports that Mr. Ravanes had full knowledge that the girl did not have a working cellphone. A friend had called the Uber on her behalf, and Mr. Ravanes came to pick the girl up from outside a bar on The Terrace in central Christchurch.
“He was aware that she had vomited on the side of the road,” the prosecutor stated. “And he then took this opportunity to prey upon her.”
Apparently, after the vomiting, the journey continued where “the sociable young woman had shared some aspects of her life” to the driver.
Eventually, Mr. Ravanes pulled over to an unlit, rural area of Yaldhurst Road. He then climbed over the central console where he forcefully kissed her and then raped her in the passenger seat.
In today’s time where the youth heavily depend on Uber for a safe ride home, Mr. Mclenaghan said: “We need to ensure the message is sent out that this is simply not acceptable.”
Defense counsel Andrew McKenzie claims that the sex was consensual and Mr. Ravanes plans to appeal the conviction. However, the woman has filed a victim impact statement showing that Ravanes’ actions had had a profound psychological effect.
“Her self-esteem and feelings of self-worth have suffered significantly as a result of this,” the judge said. “She is not to blame for this, in any way whatsoever.”
Furthermore, the court heard that Mr. Ravanes was a carpenter from the Philippines. He sought a better life for his family and so flew to New Zealand and worked as an Uber driver. His salary, according to him, is also for his father-in-law’s medical bills in the Philippines.
Mr. Ravanes and his family are now returning to the Philippines.