Halifax taxi driver 'an innocent man' being pilloried in public, his lawyer says

The defence lawyer for a Halifax cabbie who was acquitted of sexual assault in a decision that has drawn a storm of public criticism says his client is an innocent man who is being pilloried unfairly and racially stereotyped.

Luke Craggs says in an emailed news release that his client, 40-year-old Bassam Al-Rawi, was found not guilty by Judge Gregory Lenehan for legitimate reasons, including a lack of forensic evidence of sexual activity.

Al-Rawi was charged after police found the woman, in her 20s, intoxicated, unconscious and partially naked in his car in the early hours of May 23, 2015.

A police constable testified during the trial that she saw Al-Rawi shoving the woman's pants and underwear between the front seats during the arrest.

The judge's not guilty ruling, which relied heavily on the Crown's lack of evidence on whether the woman consented, has prompted plans for public protests and set off calls for a judicial council review of the judge.

Craggs says an alarming amount of the discussion has ``perpetrated the grotesque stereotype'' that Al-Rawi's Arab background ``mean he is the type of person to sexually assault a vulnerable person.''