Anger grows over acquittal of cab driver amid calls for review of judge's ruling

There is growing anger over the acquittal of a Halifax taxi driver charged with sexually assaulting a young woman in his cab, with some demanding the judge behind the decision be removed from the bench.

Two protests are being planned next week in Halifax to press for a review of the ruling by Judge Gregory Lenehan, and organizers are also calling for him to be ousted.

Lenehan ruled Wednesday that the Crown failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the woman did not consent to sexual activity with cab driver Bassam Al-Rawi.

In his 20-minute ruling, Lenehan said bluntly, "A drunk can consent."

The 40-year-old man was charged after police found the woman, in her 20s, passed out and partially naked in his car in the early hours of May 23, 2015.

The decision prompted an immediate backlash and a renewed discussion about alleged sexual assault, inebriation and consent – all factors in another recent case involving a Newfoundland police officer who was acquitted of sexually assaulting a woman who was drunk.

The Al-Rawi case prompted a petition calling for a formal inquiry into Lenehan, which had garnered almost 11,600 signatures midday Friday.