An 18-year-old woman who mistook a car outside a pub in Sydney’s inner east for her Uber ride was subjected to sexual touching and inappropriate remarks by the driver, but managed to record the horror saga on her phone, court documents have revealed.
Mohamed Maan Hammoud, 42, pleaded guilty in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday to sexually touching another person without consent after the incident involving the teenager in Paddington in October last year.
The young woman and her friend had been drinking at the Village Inn pub on Glenmore Road before she booked an Uber home using the app, according to the agreed facts tendered by the prosecutor.
Three trips had been cancelled by Uber. The teenager, who wanted to travel about five kilometres away, was assigned a driver with a white Toyota Corolla.
“A short time later the victim got into the front passenger side of a black Toyota Corolla hatchback,” the facts state. “This vehicle was being driven by the offender.”
As Hammoud drove her home, he asked the victim, “Do you get horny?”
“This made the victim feel uncomfortable, and she opened the voice memos application on her mobile phone and started recording the audio exchanged between her and the offender during the car ride,” the facts state.
She was asked questions about her night and whether she had used drugs before Hammoud “placed his hand on [her] right thigh and stroked in an up and down motion up to where her skirt ended”.
Hammoud repeatedly asked the woman, “Do you like that?” and said “spread them” and “spread your legs”. He stroked her thigh again and asked the same question, to which she replied, “No.”
“A short while later the offender attempted to place his hand under the skirt of the victim. The victim said ‘mm, no.’ The offender said ‘Later?’ [and] the victim did not reply to this.”
At one point, the victim had said, “Mmm mmmm mmmm” and was asked by Hammoud whether she was masturbating. He said she was “making sex noises”, to which she replied, “No.”
Hammoud then rubbed the woman’s right thigh for a third time.
“In order to avoid the offender, the victim started to pretend that she was asleep,” the facts state.
“During that time, the offender continued driving to the destination. After approximately 10 minutes, the offender, who believed the victim was asleep, told her to wake up and the offender dropped the victim at the destination.”
The woman made an immediate complaint to her friend and parents and reported the matter to police. Officers, who had information about the car’s registration, swooped on Hammoud’s Greenacre home in November.
“The offender nominated himself as the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offence,” the facts state.
Hammoud was arrested and taken to Bankstown police station, where he spoke to Intellectual Disability Rights Services and a lawyer before participating in a recorded interview.
Hammoud had been due to face a hearing on Wednesday, but his lawyer Jessica Tohi said the matter had resolved, entering a plea of guilty on behalf of her client to the first count of sexual touching. Three other identical charges were withdrawn and dismissed.
Tohi told the court her client had an intellectual disability and asked that the matter be listed for a Section 14 application, to have it dealt with on mental health or cognitive impairment grounds.
Under the legislation, a magistrate can dismiss the charge and discharge the defendant either into the care of a responsible person, to undergo specific treatment or unconditionally.
Tohi sought an adjournment to October, telling magistrate Miranda Moody that Hammoud had a consultation with a forensic psychiatrist booked in September.
“If it [the application] is not successful, we will proceed to sentence that day,” she said.
Hammoud remains on bail.