Ex-Halifax taxi driver guilty of sexual assault believed to be hiding in Iraq

After being allowed out of prison pending an appeal, Bassam Al-Rawi reportedly failed the person who was hosting him, and is now the subject of an arrest warrant.

How he got on a plane to leave Canada is a mystery, since he had to hand over his passport to the court.


In 2020, Bassam Al-Rawi was found guilty of a sexual assault committed in Bedford, an area of ​​Halifax, in 2012, and sentenced to two years in prison. This conviction was upheld on appeal.

He only served a few months of his sentence. In February 2022, the judge david farrar of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal agreed to temporarily release Bassam Al-Rawi, despite objections from the Crown, as his lawyer was trying to take his case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The judge, however, banned Bassam Al-Rawi from leaving Canada, saying public confidence in the justice system would be undermined if he was allowed to leave the country.

In heavy rain, several Turkish Airlines jetliners are on the runway at Istanbul Airport.

Bassam Al-Rawi would have taken a one-way ticket on a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul, we learned last week at the Court of Appeal.

Photo: Reuters/Umit Bektas

Al-Rawi was to live in Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa, with a person who had vouched for him. This individual, Fari Faisal Jeshami, had to post a $50,000 bond to guarantee compliance with this condition, and Al-Rawi had agreed to pay $25,000.

Al-Rawi was also asked to observe a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., and to surrender his passport to the court.

Two charges of sexual assault, several trials

A native of Iraq who arrived in Canada as a refugee, Bassam Al-Rawi is a Canadian citizen.

Bassam Al-Rawi arrives in provincial court in Halifax on January 7, 2019.

Bassam Al-Rawi arrives in provincial court in Halifax on January 7, 2019.

Photo: The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

In another case, he was acquitted twice of sexually assaulting a woman found unconscious in his taxi in 2015. His first acquittal sparked protests, after the judge Gregory Lenehan asserted that a person in a state of intoxication could consent to sexual intercourse.

After finding himself in the spiral of justice, Al-Rawi left Nova Scotia and settled with his family in Germany, obtaining a permanent residence there. He was still living in Germany, but had returned to Canada for his trials.

He leaves Canada

After Bassam Al-Rawi vanished two weeks ago, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal held an emergency hearing on May 25.

Fari Faisal Jeshami, Al-Rawi’s sponsor in Ontario, said that the latter had written him an email on May 13, in which he informed him that he had decided to serve the remainder of his sentence in a federal penitentiary in spring hillNova Scotia.

Attached to the email was a picture of a boarding pass from an Air Canada flight to Halifax. There is no evidence that Bassam Al-Rawi was on this flight.

Ian Hutchisonthe lawyer for the former taxi driver, contacted the Crown last week and was able to confirm that his client was not at the spring hillnor at Central Nova Correctional Institution.

Last Wednesday, Judge Carole beaton mentioned during the hearing in the Court of Appeal that Bassam Al-Rawi had obtained a one-way ticket on a flight from Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, Turkey. He would now be in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.

It is not known how he was able to board without his passport.

The Crown prosecutor claimed that Bassam Al-Rawi had used assumed names in the past.

Interior of a Burnside prison cell.Enlarge image (New window)

Contrary to what he had written to his friend, Bassan Al-Rawi was neither at Springhill Institution nor at Central Nova Correctional Institution (pictured).

Photo: The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

Before the Court of Appeal, Fari Faisal Jeshami, Al-Rawi’s respondent, expressed remorse on Wednesday. i hate myselfhe said, adding that he disapproved of his friend’s conduct.

The judge beaton indicated that Mr. Jeshami had not failed in his responsibilities to the court, and released him from any further obligations.

The judge also allowed the lawyer Ian Hutchison to withdraw from the case. The Supreme Court of Canada has yet to decide whether or not it will hear Bassam Al-Rawi’s appeal; if she accepts, he no longer has a lawyer.

The long legal saga of Bassam Al-Rawi

15 december 2012: At his home in Bedford, Bassam Al-Rawi sexually assaults a woman he had put in his taxi in Halifax. This woman files a complaint, but learns in March 2013 that the police will not lay charges.

22 may 2015: A police officer discovers an unconscious woman in Bassam Al-Rawi’s taxi in Halifax. He will be charged with sexual assault.

1st March 2017: Bassam Al-Rawi is acquitted after a first trial for an alleged sexual assault in 2015. The judge Gregory Lenehan then wrote in his judgment: Obviously a drunk person can give consent to sexual intercourse.

Demonstrators hold up posters and chant slogans.Enlarge image (New window)

On March 7, 2017 in Halifax, demonstrators denounced the remarks of Judge Gregory Lenehan, who had presided over the first trial of Bassam Al-Rawi.

Photo: The Canadian Press/Darren Calabrese

7 March 2017: Criticized by a minister and by citizens, the remarks made by the judge Lenehan in the Al-Rawi judgment provoke demonstrations.

31 january 2018: The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal orders a new trial for Bassam Al-Rawi, finding that the judge Lenehan had erred in law.

28 may 2018 : Bassam Al-Rawi is accused of a sexual assault in the sector Bedfordin Halifax, in 2012.

4 september 2019: For the second time, Bassam Al-Rawi is acquitted at the end of the trial relating to the 2015 allegations.

28 august 2020: Bassam Al-Rawi is convicted of a sexual assault in Bedford in 2012.

Bassam Al-Rawi arriving at the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Halifax with his wife and robed lawyer.

Bassam Al-Rawi arriving at the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Halifax with his wife and lawyer on August 28, 2020.

Photo: The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

17 december 2020: Bassam Al-Rawi is sentenced to two years in prison for the 2012 sexual assault.

21 december 2021 : The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal dismissed Al-Rawi’s appeal and upheld his conviction.

15 february 2022 : His lawyer having applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, Bassam Al-Rawi is conditionally released by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.

13 may 2022 : Bassam Al-Rawi violates his release conditions and disappears.

25 may 2022 : In an emergency hearing in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, the judge indicates that Bassam Al-Rawi has left Canada and could be in Iraq.

With information from Blair Rhodes, CBC


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