JUDGING SEXUAL ASSAULT TRIALS: SYSTEMIC FAILURE IN THE CASE OF REGINA V BASSAM AL-RAWI
Keywords: Evidence, Women, Consent, Intoxication, Sexual Assault, Stereotypes, Legal Ethics, Al-Rawi, Capacity, Circumstantial, Failure, Memory Loss, Urine
AbstractThe recent decision to acquit a Halifax taxi driver of sexual assault in a case involving a very intoxicated woman, who was found by police in the accused’s vehicle unconscious and naked from the breasts down, rightly sparked public criticism and consternation. A review of the trial record in Al-Rawi, including the examination and cross-examination of witnesses, the closing submissions of the Crown and defence counsel, and the trial judge’s oral decision suggests a failure of our legal system to respond appropriately to allegations of sexual assault—a failure for which, the author argues, both the trial judge and legal counsel may bear some responsibility.
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