NEWS
03/05/2017 13:52 EST | Updated 03/06/2018 00:12 EST

Group converts online fury against cabbie's acquittal into handwritten campaign

HALIFAX — A small group of people spent Sunday trying to harness the social media outcry against the acquittal of Halifax taxi driver who was charged with sexually assaulting a woman in his cab.

They gathered at a library on Sunday to write letters demanding a judicial council review of Judge Gregory Lenehan, who ruled last week 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.

Elise MacIntyre, a 27-year-old  auto mechanic, she has no experience as an organizer, but was so moved by the graphic details of the case and Lenehan's blunt remark that a "drunk can consent" during last Wednesday's ruling that she decided to hold an event to help others navigate the process of filing a formal complaint requesting a judicial council sanction or removal from the bench.

A spokeswoman for the province's judiciary confirmed Friday that a complaint has been received.

Al-Rawi, 40, 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.

MacIntyre says that if a police constable's testimony that Al-Rawi was seen shoving the woman's pants and underwear between the front seats is not enough evidence for a conviction, then it's "open season on drunk women."

Sarah Hicks, a 28-year-old family support worker, came to the library to collect handwritten signatures for a petition to be presented to Nova Scotia's justice minister to support an online campaign with more than 33,000 supporters.

Sunday's event was one of several planned on Facebook this week to protest Lenehan's ruling, including two marches on Tuesday and Wednesday.