JUDGING SEXUAL ASSAULT TRIALS: SYSTEMIC FAILURE IN THE CASE OF REGINA V BASSAM AL-RAWI
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.
Keywords:Evidence, Women, Consent, Intoxication, Sexual Assault, Stereotypes, Legal Ethics, Al-Rawi, Capacity, Circumstantial, Failure, Memory Loss, Urine
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