A Judge Acquitted A Taxi Driver Of Sexual Assault, Women Are Offering Each Other Safe Rides

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After a judge in Halifax acquitted a taxi driver of sexual assault, some women in the city have started offering each other safe rides using the hashtag #HaliLadyCab.

Alana Canales started the hashtag after a judge ruled this week that there was not enough evidence to convict Bassam Al-Rawi, a taxi driver whom police found with a half-naked, unconscious woman in the backseat of his cab in 2015.

The woman’s pants and underwear had been removed, and her DNA was found on his upper lip. The woman, who had been drinking at a bar with friends, said she did not remember getting into the cab at all that night.

In his ruling this week, however, Judge Gregory Lenehan said that “a lack of memory does not equate to a lack of consent,” and that she could have agreed to sexual activity before losing consciousness.

“A person would be incapable of giving consent if she is unconscious, or is so intoxicated by alcohol or drugs as to be incapable of understanding or perceiving the situation that presents itself,” Lenehan said.

“This does not mean, however, that an intoxicated person cannot give consent to sexual activity,” he added. “Clearly, a drunk can consent.”

Lenehan’s ruling has led to outrage in Halifax and across the country. According to CBC News, a dozen sexual assault centers, women’s centres, and therapists in the province have called for Lenehan’s removal from the bench.

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