A taxi driver who intended to have sex with three girls aged 12 to 16 as fare claimed another driver had told him they had carried out similar exchanges.
The 27-year-old former taxi driver, named in court only as Robin, will be sentenced in the District Court this afternoon after pleading guilty to inciting a child to do indecent acts.
The court has heard that Robin had picked up three girls aged 12, 15 and 16 from outside a city takeaway outlet at 3am on September 27, 2011.
He had suggested sexual favours as payment for the fare after the girls said they did not know how they would pay but the trio stole his taxi as he bought condoms in a service station.
The court heard he had tried to refund the condoms at the service station and then called police.
Robin's defence lawyer Alix McGregor today submitted that her client has not realised the young age of the girls, particularly the 12-year-old. She requested her client be given a suspended jail term, noting the hardship imprisonment would have on his young family.
A court-ordered psychological report had noted that Robin claimed a taxi driver friend had told him they had exchanged a fare for sexual favours before.
Judge Ronald Birmingham adjourned sentencing to this afternoon but warned Robin the chances of him being spared immediate jail time were bleak.
"His plan was to engage in sexual intercourse with all three... it must have been apparent that at least one of them was under 16," the judge said. "You would hope that young people getting into a taxi would be taken to their home directly and not taken to a park... where sex is solicited."
The court heard that the girls had later admitted they planned to do a "runner" from the cab and then planned to steal it while Robin was stopped at the service station.