Taxi driver allegedly used spa bubbles to hide sex offending
A taxi driver accused of sexually assaulting a young woman in a spa at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre was filmed sitting "unnaturally close" to his alleged victim, a court has heard.
Hayas Kardo, 62, is standing trial before judge alone charged with rape and sexual assault over the incident on September 23, 2018.
Opening the trial before Judge Liesl Chapman, prosecutor Carmen Matteo said the alleged victim of the assault had attended the Aquatic Centre to unwind after a busy week.
"She went with the desire to relax and unwind," Ms Matteo said.
"She was feeling tired and hungover when she left work about the middle of the day, went home, got her things and then went to the Aquatic Centre."
Judge Chapman heard that the 27-year-old woman had fallen asleep for an hour in the northern of two spa pools at the centre.
She woke up and got out of the pool, went to the change room and sent a text before returning to the same position in the spa.
She once again fell asleep.
Ms Matteo said security camera footage of the spa area would show the woman once again falling asleep.
Between 4.56pm and 5pm, Kardo, who was also in the spa, appeared to be very close to the woman with both arms under the water.
The bubbles of the spa obfuscate the view below the water, but Ms Matteo said it was possible to see the woman's dark swim shorts billow upwards.
Between 5.06pm and 5.12pm Ms Matteo said the footage would show Kardo once again close to the woman with his left arm beneath the water.
She woke again 5.17 and appears to have a brief interaction with Kardo before leaving the spa.
As she leaves, heading for the nearest lifeguard, Kardo can be seen watching her walk away, Ms Matteo said.
The court heard that the woman was stuttering and close to tears as she told a lifeguard she had been sexually assaulted.
The lifeguard raised the alarm and police were called.
Kardo got out of the spa a minute later, had a shower and left in his distinctive taxi.
The vehicle led to his swift identification and he was arrested and charged at 10.43pm that night.
Craig Caldicott, for Kardo, said that his client agrees that he was at the Aquatic Centre and in the spa on that day.
He said he was indeed the man filmed on camera. But Mr Caldicott said his client denied any offending against the young woman.
The trial continues with evidence from the woman and the lifeguards to whom she reported the incident.*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Taxi driver allegedly used spa bubbles to hide sex offending