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MERSEY MUSINGS: Well , ladies, best hire a bodyguard for your next cab ride

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Take a cab, they say. Take a cab when you’re impaired.

You see the signs everywhere. In bars. In liquor stores. On television.

Yeah.

Maybe those signs should say: “If you are a highly intoxicated woman, make sure you take a police officer with you in your cab, so they can determine the exact moment you pass out and can no longer give consent to the cab driver taking advantage of you, in a sexual way.”

That certainly seems to be the message given in the court decision by Judge Gregory E. Lenehan in last week’s case in Halifax, where a taxi driver was acquitted of sexual assault after he was found in the backseat of his cab with a passed out woman,  naked from the waist down.

 She was passed out at the time the police found her – far away from where she was supposed to be going. The cab driver, Bassam Al-Rawi, was holding her urine-soaked panties and pants, which the judge determined that he had removed himself. His pants were also half down and her DNA was found on his lip.

The woman’s blood alcohol level was .244 milligrams of alcohol – a level that experts say can lead to unconsciousness. And there is no doubt the woman was unconscious when she was found by police. She was so drunk she doesn’t remember anything.

That means she was experiencing a blackout. Now, a reasonable person would assume that one can’t give informed consent in an alcoholic blackout, but not Lenehan.

“Clearly, a drunk can consent,” he said in his decision.

He then went on to opine that yes, the woman was unconscious when she was found, but exactly when did she become unconscious? She could have been conscious just long enough to say, “Oh, sure, Mr. Cab Driver whom I do not know and who wants to have sex with me when I just obviously peed my pants, yes there is nothing more that I want to do right now than have sexual relations with you, a stranger, in a cab, when I actually meant to go home.”

Reasonable doubt is one thing. But reasonable doubt does not mean “Beyond a shadow of a doubt,” which this judge seemed to imply.

He acknowledged that she was very drunk, that she had been turned away from a bar for being too intoxicated, she had urinated in her pants (which he pulled off anyway, along with her panties, and were found in his hands), and she was in a blackout.

What more did he need?

This decision is enraging people across the province, and even the country, and for very good reason.

Lenehan seemed to imply that, while the taxi driver was a very, very bad man, maybe she wanted it.

That is a narrative women have heard for far too long. Maybe she wanted it.

It’s obvious if you have blacked out and have peed your pants and are unconscious at least part of the time, you’re kind of not in the mood for sex with a stranger.

Let’s hope those petitions keep coming. The outrage keeps coming. And the Nova Scotia Judicial council listens.

Because women are supposed to be protected from sexual predators. Not assumed they want it.

No wonder there was applause by the taxi driver’s friends in the court.

No doubt they didn’t expect such a ridiculous decision.

Barb McKenna is editor of the Queens County Advance. She can be reached at barb.mckenna@tc.tc

RELATED:

'Clearly a drunk can consent,' judge says in acquitting taxi driver charged with sexual assault

 

Halifax mayor: 'I don’t want somebody like that driving a taxi in this municipality'

 

Leah Parsons joins voices calling for review of judge who said 'clearly a drunk can consent'

 

Halifax taxi driver acquitted of sexual assault hasn't driven cab since he was charged

 

#HaliLadyCab: Women offering drives for others wary of taking Halifax taxis

 

Protests planned, petitions signed, complaints rolling in over Halifax judge's consent comments

 

Taxi association head: driver acquitted on sex charge won’t drive for Halifax companies

 

Director of Colchester Sexual Assault Centre finds Halifax case unsettling

 

 

 

You see the signs everywhere. In bars. In liquor stores. On television.

Yeah.

Maybe those signs should say: “If you are a highly intoxicated woman, make sure you take a police officer with you in your cab, so they can determine the exact moment you pass out and can no longer give consent to the cab driver taking advantage of you, in a sexual way.”

That certainly seems to be the message given in the court decision by Judge Gregory E. Lenehan in last week’s case in Halifax, where a taxi driver was acquitted of sexual assault after he was found in the backseat of his cab with a passed out woman,  naked from the waist down.

 She was passed out at the time the police found her – far away from where she was supposed to be going. The cab driver, Bassam Al-Rawi, was holding her urine-soaked panties and pants, which the judge determined that he had removed himself. His pants were also half down and her DNA was found on his lip.

The woman’s blood alcohol level was .244 milligrams of alcohol – a level that experts say can lead to unconsciousness. And there is no doubt the woman was unconscious when she was found by police. She was so drunk she doesn’t remember anything.

That means she was experiencing a blackout. Now, a reasonable person would assume that one can’t give informed consent in an alcoholic blackout, but not Lenehan.

“Clearly, a drunk can consent,” he said in his decision.

He then went on to opine that yes, the woman was unconscious when she was found, but exactly when did she become unconscious? She could have been conscious just long enough to say, “Oh, sure, Mr. Cab Driver whom I do not know and who wants to have sex with me when I just obviously peed my pants, yes there is nothing more that I want to do right now than have sexual relations with you, a stranger, in a cab, when I actually meant to go home.”

Reasonable doubt is one thing. But reasonable doubt does not mean “Beyond a shadow of a doubt,” which this judge seemed to imply.

He acknowledged that she was very drunk, that she had been turned away from a bar for being too intoxicated, she had urinated in her pants (which he pulled off anyway, along with her panties, and were found in his hands), and she was in a blackout.

What more did he need?

This decision is enraging people across the province, and even the country, and for very good reason.

Lenehan seemed to imply that, while the taxi driver was a very, very bad man, maybe she wanted it.

That is a narrative women have heard for far too long. Maybe she wanted it.

It’s obvious if you have blacked out and have peed your pants and are unconscious at least part of the time, you’re kind of not in the mood for sex with a stranger.

Let’s hope those petitions keep coming. The outrage keeps coming. And the Nova Scotia Judicial council listens.

Because women are supposed to be protected from sexual predators. Not assumed they want it.

No wonder there was applause by the taxi driver’s friends in the court.

No doubt they didn’t expect such a ridiculous decision.

Barb McKenna is editor of the Queens County Advance. She can be reached at barb.mckenna@tc.tc

RELATED:

'Clearly a drunk can consent,' judge says in acquitting taxi driver charged with sexual assault

 

Halifax mayor: 'I don’t want somebody like that driving a taxi in this municipality'

 

Leah Parsons joins voices calling for review of judge who said 'clearly a drunk can consent'

 

Halifax taxi driver acquitted of sexual assault hasn't driven cab since he was charged

 

#HaliLadyCab: Women offering drives for others wary of taking Halifax taxis

 

Protests planned, petitions signed, complaints rolling in over Halifax judge's consent comments

 

Taxi association head: driver acquitted on sex charge won’t drive for Halifax companies

 

Director of Colchester Sexual Assault Centre finds Halifax case unsettling

 

 

 

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