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Former Halifax taxi driver’s sex assault trial resumes after nearly 6-month hiatus

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WATCH: After a nearly six-month break as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, former Halifax taxi driver Bassam Al-Rawi’s sexual assault trial resumed on Monday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. Graeme Benjamin reports – Aug 24, 2020

The trial of a former Halifax taxi driver facing a second sexual assault accusation resumed on Monday after a nearly six-month break as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bassam Al-Rawi is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his apartment in December 2012 after he picked her up in his cab in downtown Halifax.

The trial began in February but was delayed after the Nova Scotia Supreme Court suspended in-court proceedings following the COVID-19 outbreak.

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

In September 2019, Al-Rawi was found not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman who was found unconscious in the back of his taxi in May 2015.

Al-Rawi was also acquitted in an earlier trial in May 2017, but the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal ordered a new trial after it was found that the trial judge erred by ignoring circumstantial evidence.

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That case garnered national attention after Judge Gregory Lenehan stated that “clearly, a drunk can consent.”

Court resumes with cross-examination of toxicology specialist

Monday’s testimony in Nova Scotia Supreme Court began with a cross-examination of RCMP toxicology specialist Christopher Keddy.

Keddy was previously called as a Crown witness and was the last witness to testify before the proceeding was delayed.

Click to play video 'Former Halifax taxi driver found not guilty for 2015 sexual assault allegation' Former Halifax taxi driver found not guilty for 2015 sexual assault allegation
Former Halifax taxi driver found not guilty for 2015 sexual assault allegation – Sep 4, 2019

On Monday, Bassam’s defence counsel Ian Hutchison cross-examined Keddy on his previous testimony of when a urine sample was collected from the complainant after the alleged assault.

Keddy initially testified that the urine sample was collected at 6:20 p.m. the day after the alleged incident, but corrected himself and said it was collected at 8:15 p.m.

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Keddy said he mixed up the times between when the urine sample was collected and when the sexual assault examination began.

READ MORE: Former Halifax taxi driver committed two acts of sexual offence, Crown tells court

The mix-up resulted in Hutchison suggesting he send a transcript of Keddy’s previous testimony via email link to refresh his memory on his previous testimony.

Judge Gerald Moir agreed and adjourned court until the afternoon.

All of the testimony heard in court is being translated to ensure Al-Rawi understands the proceedings.

— With files from Alexa MacLean