Al-Rawi defence presents no evidence as closing statements in sex assault trial set for Wednesday

Bassam Al-Rawi arrives at provincial court in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019 for his trial on a charge of sexual assault. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

It was a short day in court on Tuesday as Bassam Al-Rawi‘s defence team presented no evidence at the former taxi-drivers sexual assault trial.

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.

It is Al-Rawi’s second sexual assault accusation. 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.”

The trial that continued on Tuesday was delayed for nearly six months after the Nova Scotia Supreme Court suspended in-court proceedings following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Al-Rawi’s legal team does not have to present evidence in his defence. The onus is on the Crown to convince a judge beyond a reasonable doubt.

Click to play video: 'Closing arguments begin in retrial of Bassam Al-Rawi'
Closing arguments begin in retrial of Bassam Al-Rawi

However, the decision does mean that Al-Rawi did not take to the stand in his own defence. He has done so in previous trials.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

With files from Global News’ Graeme Benjamin

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