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Any appeal of NS cab driver acquittal to be based on law, not protests: Crown

Bassam Al-Rawi appears in Halifax Provincial Court in February. Jeff Harper/Metro Halifax

A spokeswoman for Nova Scotia’s prosecutors says any appeal of the acquittal of a Halifax cabbie charged with sexual assault will be on the basis of legal errors, not public protests.

READ MORE: ‘Not going to stand for this’: Group pens letters for Halifax judge’s removal

Judge Gregory Lenehan found 40-year-old Bassam Al-Rawi not guilty last Wednesday.

Prosecution spokeswoman Chris Hansen says the Crown attorney in the case is reviewing the decision, and will make a recommendation that will be further considered by the senior Crown in the region and the prosecution service’s appeal lawyers.

Al-Rawi was charged after police found the woman, in her 20s, passed out and partially naked in his car in the early hours of May 23, 2015.

Lenehan said in an oral decision last Wednesday that the Crown provided no evidence on the woman’s lack of consent, and said “clearly, a drunk can consent.”

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Following the acquittal, first reported by Metro Halifax, people across the municipality spoke out in opposition and protests were scheduled in Halifax for Tuesday and Wednesday.

READ MORE: Groups call for removal of ‘drunks can consent’ judge in Nova Scotia

Hansen says prosecutors are aware of the “public angst,” but she adds the decision will based on a careful analysis of the law involved and the lawyers will take the time required.

With a file from Sean Previl, Global News

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