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Halifax taxi driver charged with sexual assault previously appealed licence suspension

Click to play video: 'Halifax police charge taxi driver with sexually assaulting woman in cab' Halifax police charge taxi driver with sexually assaulting woman in cab
WATCH: Police in Halifax say they have charged a taxi driver with sexually assaulting a woman in his cab. Alicia Draus reports. – Sep 20, 2019

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.

READ MORE: Former Halifax taxi driver Bassam Al-Rawi found not guilty of sexual assault

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.

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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.

WATCH: Halifax woman seeks review of alleged police mishandling of her sex assault case

Click to play video: 'Halifax woman seeks review of alleged police mishandling of her sex assault case' Halifax woman seeks review of alleged police mishandling of her sex assault case
Halifax woman seeks review of alleged police mishandling of her sex assault case – Sep 16, 2019

“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.

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“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.”

READ MORE: Protest promptly planned in Halifax following Al-Rawi not-guilty verdict

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. 

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