Perth taxi driver jailed over sex attack

A Perth taxi driver who sexually assaulted a sleeping female passenger in his cab has been sentenced to three years' jail.

Sumudu Rangana Bamunu Arachchige, 28, was sentenced in Perth's District Court after pleading guilty to two counts of indecent assault and one charge of sexual penetration without consent.

Arachchige picked up the 34-year-old victim around 10.30pm (WST) on July 7 from Mt Hawthorn, in Perth's north.

She was intoxicated and fell asleep in the passenger seat during the journey but woke to find him rubbing her leg.

The woman shrunk away from him and texted a friend: "The driver felt me up."

She fell asleep again and woke to find him caressing her thigh with her skirt lifted higher.

After brushing his hand away, the woman vomited out the window and fell asleep again.

She woke again to find him digitally penetrating her and slapped his hands away.

When he dropped her home, the woman called police and Arachchige was arrested shortly after.

Arachchige's lawyer argued that his client suffered from amnesia, low self-esteem and heard a voice in his head after being sexually abused by a woman as a child.

Judge Philip McCann said Arachchige had committed a "particularly serious breach of trust".

He said general deterrence for taxi drivers was paramount.

Arachchige is Sri Lankan and had been living in Australia on a student visa for five years.

Judge McCann dismissed the voices in Arachchige's head as "internal dialogues" that most people had, but he accepted that Arachchige had been abused as a child and suffered chronic depression.

He said there was a medium-to-low risk of Arachchige reoffending.

The sentence was backdated to July 8 when Arachchige was taken into custody.

He will be eligible to be considered for parole in January 2014, and upon release will likely be deported.

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