Courts

Prosecution appealing acquittal of taxi driver in sex assault case

Judge Gregory Lenehan found Bassam Al-Rawi not guilty on March 1

The trial of Bassam Al-Rawi was held at Halifax Provincial Court on Spring Garden Road.   Alexander Quon

Nova Scotia’s Public Prosecution Service says it will be appealing the March 1 sexual assault acquittal of Bassam Al-Rawi, a Halifax taxi driver.

Al-Rawi was charged with sexual assault in May 2015, following an incident in his taxi involving a female passenger.

Following a trial in Halifax, provincial court Judge Gregory Lenehan found the accused not guilty, citing the Crown’s failure to prove the complainant’s lack of consent.

“We have conducted a legal analysis of the judge’s decision and have concluded there is a solid basis to appeal the ruling,” Denise Smith, deputy director of public prosecutions, said in a news release Tuesday.

The prosecution service cites seven grounds for the appeal, including that Lenehan speculated on the issue of consent rather than drawing on the facts.

A notice has been filed with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.

Lenehan has faced public scrutiny over his decision. A protest is planned for Tuesday afternoon at Grand Parade in downtown Halifax.