taxi licensing

Taxi driver charged with sexual assault will not get license back

Seyed Abolghasem Sadat Lavasani appealed his license suspension after charges laid on Jan. 8

A Halifax taxi driver charged with sexual assault will not be getting his license back.

The Halifax Regional Municipality appeals committee denied Seyed Abolghasem Sadat Lavasani’s request to review his license suspension on Thursday.

Lavasani, 74, is alleged to have sexually assaulted a passenger in his taxi in the early morning of Sept. 17, 2018. He was arrested on Nov. 27 and appeared in provincial court on Jan. 8 to have his charges read.

The HRM licensing authority was informed of the charge after the court appearance and immediately suspended Lavasani’s license. Under the taxi and limousine bylaw, the municipality may revoke or suspend licenses, if an owner or driver is charged with a crime.

Lavasani promptly filed a notice of appeal on Jan. 9. He wrote he has no other means of employment due to his age.

On Thursday, Lavasani read a letter to the committee where he also mentioned his generosity in going above and beyond expectations for passengers. He also said he’s willing to install a camera in his vehicle and take other precautionary measures.

“When these types of situations occur, we should have zero tolerance,” said committee member Coun. David Hendsbee. “I believe these matters need to be resolved in a courthouse not here.”

Fellow committee members Coun. Lisa Blackburn and  Coun. Bill Karsten echoed Hendsbee’s comments.

“All of the good deeds that you’ve described … although they are noted, they do not outweigh the serious charges that are laid at this time,” said Karsten.

Lavasani is expected to appear in provincial court on March 16 to submit a plea.

Hendsbee said if Lavasani is found not guilty, he can apply for his license back.