An Auckland court has found the taxi driver Baljeet Singh not guilty of sexually assaulting radio personality Jay-Jay Feeney.
An Auckland-based taxi driver of Indian origin Baljeet Singh is ‘greatly relieved’ as he has been found not guilty of indecently assaulting radio personality Jay-Jay Feeney.
Marie Dyhrberg QC, who represented Mr Singh says her client is greatly relieved.
“My client is greatly relieved it is now all over, and he and his family can move past this and put the ordeal behind them,” Ms Dyhrberg told SBS Hindi.
29-year-old Baljeet Singh was accused of indecent assault by Ms Feeney. He had pleaded not guilty.
The incident was alleged to have occurred on the evening of 30 September 2017 when Ms Feeney claimed she hired a cab around 1 am to return home after having dinner with friends.
Ms Feeney had accused Baljeet Singh of assaulting her in front of her home after allegedly offering to be her boyfriend.
Feeney said, he “leaned down and put his hand down into my bra,” according to a report by New Zealand Herald.
Mr Singh denied any wrongdoing. The jury delivered its verdict to Auckland District Court Judge Claire Ryan.
Ms Feeney, who was not present at the court, told the Herald that she was devastated.
“I am absolutely dumbfounded and devastated; I stand with all victims of sexual assault who have never been believed,” NZ Herald quoted her saying.
However, Mr Singh’s lawyer said her client had to fight on extra fronts due to the media attention to the case.
Ms Dyhrberg said, “When you have someone who has a media profile, then it is easy for them to use their media resources to talk about the trial process. The system has changed so that the rules from a past era – no comment while a case is sub-judice (before the court) do not seem to be adhered to in the same way.”
“We know we are battling the media coverage and can only hope the jury pool is not unduly influenced by the support someone in the media receives when alleging they are a victim. The hardest part is not knowing how wide media publicity will spread out and if it does reach potential jurors. It is only if you have something unimpeachable that you can battle this aspect.”