An Auckland taxi driver is on trial accused of groping one of his passengers, well-known radio host Jay-Jay Feeney.
Baljeet Singh's trial for allegedly indecently assaulting the radio host began today in the Auckland District Court before a jury and Judge Nevin Dawson.
Feeney, the long-time host of The Edge's breakfast show, waived her right to suppression and has talked about her allegations on social media.
She now hosts a drive-time show with Jason Gunn.
Feeney was enjoying a dinner and night out in Ponsonby with a friend on September 30 last year, Crown prosecutor Nick Webby said during his opening address.
After dinner, Feeney and her friend visited some bars before Feeney decided to leave about 1am.
"I was obviously drunk," she told the court today.
"But I don't have a blank from that evening or anything."
Feeney sought out a taxi to take her to her home in Grey Lynn.
As she left the Ponsonby Social Club, the first taxi driver Feeney approached said he had just been dispatched to another job and couldn't take her.
The second driver in the cab rank also said he couldn't take her because he was looking for a longer job and bigger fare.
The third taxi was driven by Singh, the court was told.
Singh asked Feeney to type her address into his smartphone.
At first, during the journey, the pair were having a normal conversation, with Feeney talking about being a radio host, Webby said.
"After that initial normal conversation, a couple of minutes into the ride, you'll hear the conversation took a bit of a turn," the prosecutor told the jury.
Singh, 28, then began to ask about Feeney's relationship status, Webby said.
She said she was married but had recently separated from her husband, Dom Harvey.
The taxi driver told the media personality he could be her boyfriend and began complimenting her on her looks, the court was told.
"He was commenting on how beautiful I was and how I had nice breasts," Feeney said, adding Singh was stroking her hand.
"That's when I started feeling uncomfortable," she said.
At first Feeney said she thought it was a joke, but Singh, who was "laughing and joking", carried on with his proposal.
A short while later the taxi arrived at Feeney's apartment building and Singh parked across the road.
"He asked her, 'what apartment do you live in? Do you live alone?'" Webby said.
The cab fare showed $17, but Singh said Feeney didn't need to pay, the court heard.
"No pay, I touch your breasts," Feeney recalled Singh saying.
"It took me a couple of minutes to convince him to take my card off me."
After paying, Feeney said: "He reached over and put his hand down my top, under my bra."
"I just remember the feel of it, I wasn't looking down ... I just reacted, flicked his hand out."
Feeney said she felt violated.
"I started to really be scared now, I was alone, it was the middle of the night," she told the court.
As Feeney fled, Webby said Singh also left the taxi and said: "I'm coming to your apartment with you."
"No, you're not," Feeney replied before bolting up her apartment stairs.
When she reached her flat she didn't turn the lights on and peered out her window into the street.
"He was standing in the middle of the road, just standing, looking up," she said.
The cab driver left shortly after.
Feeney sent a text to Harvey, briefly explaining what had happened, but the next day she wasn't sure what she should do, Webby said.
"Just had a terrible experience with my taxi driver, honestly thought I was going to get raped," the text read.
She wasn't sure if she should go to the police but later posted on Facebook.
"I didn't want to waste the police time," Feeney said.
"The stuff I put on my Facebook is to relate to my fans ... I thought if I shared other people may also share [their experiences].
"I actually got more attention than I expected."
Under cross-examination by defence counsel Marie Dyhrberg QC, Feeney said once her allegations were in the hands of police "it was already on Facebook and in the news".
She said she inquired with her public relations department at work whether she should remove the Facebook post but it was suggested it be left online.
"I didn't expect what happened from the social post, but the pressure from the public to do something about it to protect other people was very strong," Feeney told the court.
"I was physically assaulted by the taxi driver and traumatised and frightened and everything I've said happened, happened.
"It's not a lie, I just didn't want to cause all this drama."
Feeney's banking records showed she had paid $20 on October 1 to a taxi company, Smart Cabs.
When Singh, who was not working for Smart Cabs at the time, was spoken to by police he said Feeney was one of his passengers but denied any wrongdoing.
He also said he had only left his taxi outside the apartment building because Feeney fell over and he wanted to make sure she was okay.
However, CCTV footage of the street is inconsistent with Singh's claims, Webby said.
Camera footage from inside the taxi was also automatically wiped before police could obtain it.
Dyhrberg said the alleged offence "absolutely did not happen".
"The issue for you is, did in fact this touching occur and the defence says absolutely not," she told the jury.
The trial, scheduled for three days, continues.