Nova Scotia

Former Halifax taxi driver committed to trial on sex assault charge

Nova Scotia provincial court Judge Amy Sakalauskas announced her decision in the case of Bassam Al-Rawi Thursday morning.

Bassam Al-Rawi also facing retrial on charges he sexually assaulted another woman

Bassam Al-Rawi appears in Halifax provincial court on Jan. 7. (Robert Short/CBC)

A former Halifax taxi driver has been committed to stand trial on a charge of sexual assault for an alleged attack on a woman in December 2012.

Nova Scotia provincial court Judge Amy Sakalauskas announced her decision in the case of Bassam Al-Rawi Thursday morning. It followed a two-day preliminary inquiry in Halifax earlier this month in which the woman and a civilian witness testified.

Evidence and arguments presented at the preliminary inquiry are under a publication ban, as is the identify of the woman.

Al-Rawi is scheduled to appear in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on March 7 to begin the process of scheduling a trial before a judge alone.

Police initially investigated the case and opted not to charge Al-Rawi. However, they reopened their investigation in the midst of the furore over Al-Rawi's acquittal on another sexual assault charge, this one involving allegations he sexually assaulted a passenger in his cab.

The acquittal was overturned on appeal and a new trial started last month.

However, the retrial had to be adjourned because of issues with translation. A translator had been present in the courtroom to assist Al-Rawi, whose native language is Arabic. That trial is scheduled to resume in April.

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