Hearing in Progress for Taxi Driver’s Charge

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Halifax, Canada —- The initial inquiry started on Monday on the sexual assault charge of a former Halifax taxi driver.

Accused in the alleged 2012 sexual assault incident is Bassam Al-Rasawi.

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There were insufficient evidence in March 2013 to charge him the case. But when police reopened the case file in 2017, they found out that there were enough evidences for a sexual assault charge.

The initial inquiry which began on Monday with Judge Amy Sakalauskas as the presiding judge. There were also a publication ban issued on the evidence presented. Hearing will continue on Tuesday when defense lawyers are expected to make their own submissions.

The former taxi driver is also facing retrial another charge of sexual assault for a separate incident in May 2015. The 2015 charged was made when an unconscious, naked woman, was found in the backseat of a cab.

This retrial was ordered by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal after the acquittal was overturned January of last year.

The retrial, which was expected to continue until April 15, started January this year.

The case, especially the acquittal, drew national attention when it was ordered by the judge due to lack of evidence of consent. Judge Lenehan’s remark on the case regarding “drunken consent” also sparked national debate.

An independent review committee dismissed various complaints against the presiding judge  last year, stating that they found no impermissible evidence, reasoning or bias against Judge Lenehan’s ruling.

Although the appeal court objected, thus resulting in a new criminal trial for the former taxi driver. The appeal court also stated that the judge made an error when he decided that there was no evidence of lack of consent.

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