By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
The case of a former Sydney Uber driver who was charged with raping a teenager in Bondi as she dozed off in the back of his car after she had been drinking with friends in August 2018 has finally closed, with the offender being jailed for eight-and-a-half years.
Onur Dedeoglu was booked to drive the then 17-year-old girl home along with two of her friends after they enjoyed a night out together to celebrate completing their trial Year 12 exams.
However, after dropping off the girl’s two male friends in Bondi, he then deactivated his Uber driver app, parked his vehicle in a neighbouring carpark and then ascended into the back seat, where she had fallen asleep.
Almost 20 minutes later, the young girl woke up to find the man – who is 20 years her senior – on top of her with his hand down her trousers and kissing her.
On 7 April 2020, Mr Dedeoglu, 39, was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail for raping the schoolgirl.
Judge Deems Rape as “Opportunistic” As Offender Claims Girl Gave Consent
As Mr Dedeoglu faced Downing Centre District Court, the former Uber driver tried to argue that the 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, consented as he kissed her and suggested they have sex.
Previously, he had repeatedly declared she invited him into the back seat and they engaged in consensual sexual activity until she eventually changed her mind and walked off, banging the car door on him.
He also insisted he believed the girl to be “in her 20s”.
However, the prosecution asserted the girl was fast asleep and woke to the man on top of her in the back seat.
Judge Nicole Noman labelled the offending as “out of character and opportunistic”.
“Although approaching adulthood, the victim was still a child who was entitled to safety,” Judge Normal told the Downing Centre District Court.
“The offender took advantage of her vulnerability.”
Judge Norman said CCTV showed all three passengers appeared young and “looked their age”.
Mr Dedeoglu was found guilty of two counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual intercourse without consent.
She sentenced the man to eight-and-a-half years in jail with a minimum of six years, eligible for parole in 2025.
His sentence was backdated to 2 April 2019, accounting for time he served in immigration detention and prison, his previous good character and the partial access he has to immediate family.
Judge Norman noted the arduous effects of the coronavirus restrictions on prisoners also reduced his term to a modest degree.
Victim Statement Reveals Girl Remains Violated, Distraught and Confused
In a victim statement given by the girl, it was revealed the rape had left her feeling violated, distraught, confused and overwhelmed with anger.
“At the age of 17, I had to see the world in a different lens and question men’s intentions more than I should have to”, the court heard.
She said finishing high school was meant to be “one of the most enjoyable periods” of her teenage years.
Instead, she would now have to “live with the memory of that trauma” for the rest of her life.
The victim acknowledged that long-term psychological effects may manifest down the track.
“The harm is almost inevitable,” she said.
Mr Dedeoglu will most probably be deported to Turkey once his six-year non-parole period ends.
The court heard his wife and young son have since returned to Turkey, so the man has no family left in Australia.
The law imposes up to 14-years jail for having sexual intercourse with a person without that person’s consent, knowing that that person did not consent, under section 61I Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
Sexual assault without consent under s61I is considered so serious in NSW, that the law has attached to it a standard non-parole period of 7-years- representing the minimum full-time jail term before eligible for release on parole only if the offending conduct falls in the middle of the range of objective seriousness for such offences.
Courts aren’t required to strictly impose the 7-year standard non-parole period even when it applies.
Defences to sexual assault charges include an honest and reasonable belief that there was consent, absence of ‘sexual intercourse’, or where the alleged assault occurred due to a proper medical purpose.
For more details- call our Sydney based criminal lawyers to arrange a free consult today.