A CABBIE who was accused of trying to grope a pole dancer as he took her home from work in the early hours of the morning has been cleared by a jury.

Farjam Hooshyarabnavi was accused of trying to kiss the woman against her will and touching her inappropriately as she sat in the seat behind him.

But the 44-year-old, who was working for SN1 Taxis, told the police she had got out without paying, offering him a lap dance instead.

When the father-of-two, who is originally from Iran, told her he was not interested and wanted the cash he said she handed over £6 and swore at him, and he swore back.

When Mr Hooshyarabnavi, of Juno Way, Rushy Platt, appeared at Swindon Crown Court he denied one charge of sexual assault.

And a jury took less than two hours, including an hour for lunch, to find him not guilty.

Judge Douglas Field discharged him and ordered that his legal costs, which he had paid for himself, should be met out of central funds.

Earlier Adrian Fleming, prosecuting, told the jury the 31-year-old dancer had been picked up in the town centre by the cab, shortly after 4.30am on Friday, March 16.

He said she had been a customer of Mr Hooshyarabnavi a few weeks earlier and he had given her an SN1 Taxis business card on which he had written his mobile phone number.

This time, during the journey in his VW Touran seven-seater she said he stopped three times in lay-bys and kept saying ‘Give me a kiss.’ She said when he stopped in Swindon Road by the old BMW plant she kissed him on the cheek, as she feared he would not take her home if she refused.

But shortly before getting to her house in the east of Swindon she said he stopped for the third time, grabbed her face with one hand and tried to kiss her and touch her.

“She slapped his hand away saying ‘Get off, I want to go home.’ She was in a state thinking things were going to get an awful lot worse,” Mr Fleming said.

But he said the driver turned round and in a bad temper completed the journey to her home where she handed over the fare and went inside. She then told her boyfriend what had happened and he called the police.

Mr Hooshyarabnavi’s car was stopped at 7am and he was taken in for questioning where he denied any wrongdoing.

The jury heard he was tearful during interview, insisted he had done nothing wrong and said she offered him the dance instead of paying.

He said he must have given her a card with his mobile number on by mistake as he kept them close to others which just had the business’s details on them.

Giving evidence he said he had fled his homeland in 1990 in fear of death and lived in Holland, where he was granted asylum, before moving to Swindon in 2004.

He told the jury he was happily married, had no need for a lap dance and would never grope a customer.

He said the girl seemed upset when he didn’t want a dance and he felt he had done the wrong thing by swearing at her, even though she swore at him first.

l SN1 Taxis refused to confirm or deny Mr Hooshyarabnavi worked for them