A Halifax taxi driver has been charged with sexual assault only months after the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) granted an appeal for his suspended taxi licence.
Lesianu Zewdie Hweld, 44, of Halifax, is facing one count of sexual assault in connection with an incident that reportedly occurred this past weekend.
Halifax police say officers responded on Sept. 14 at 3:20 a.m. to a report of a sexual assault that had occurred a short time earlier.
Police allege a male taxi driver drove a woman to a residence in Halifax and sexually assaulted her while she was in the vehicle.
As a result of a police investigation, officers arrested the taxi driver at police headquarters in Halifax without incident on Sept. 18.
Police say that out of consideration for the victim’s privacy and well-being, no further details will be released.
This is not the first time Hweld has drawn the public’s attention.
In July, the HRM’s appeals standing committee voted to give Hweld his taxi licences back.
Hweld’s licence was suspended after Halifax’s taxi-licensing authority denied his renewal application.
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“Upon review of the taxi driver license application package for renewal, the licensing authority determined that the driver abstract had several infractions leading to a suspension of Mr. Hweld’s Nova Scotia driver’s licence as well as a second suspension one month later,” municipal staff wrote in a report detailing Hweld’s appeal.
“Both suspensions had been served by Mr. Hweld, and the licensing authority was not made aware of either case.”
Taxi drivers in Halifax are supposed to inform the municipality’s licensing body if they “have become the subject to a court order, undertaking, charge or conviction.”
According to minutes on the municipality’s website, Hweld told the appeals standing committee that he had not known he was required to inform the licensing authority, and staff confirmed that taxi applicants did not receive a pamphlet outlining an applicant’s obligation to report traffic infractions and licence suspensions.
Hweld argued that staff had not provided clear details about the fact he was supposed to report the violations.
As a result, his appeal was allowed.
Hweld has since been released from police custody. He’s scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial Court at a later date.
Correction: Lesianu Zewdie Hweld was originally referred to as Lesianu Zewdiewas Hweld due to an error in a press release. Global News regrets the error.