Drunks can consent? Remove Judge Gregory Lenehan from the bench

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We, the people, would like to petition that Justice Gregory Lenehan be removed from his judicial position for his acquittal of Bassam Al-Rawi. Justice Lenehan determined that Mr. Al-Rawi's victim must have been conscious when she entered his taxi and, therefore, might have consented to having sex with him before passing out. However slight that possibility, Justice Lenehan considered it to outweigh the fact that the victim was found unconscious and naked from the waist down just ten minutes after getting into the taxi. Not only that: she had urinated on herself, and Mr. Al-Rawi, whose pants were undone, had the victim's DNA was on his lips, as forensic tests later showed.

Justice Lenehan's opinion was that "clearly a drunk can consent." We emphatically reject that opinion in the case of anyone whose blood-alcohol level is three times the legal limit—as was the victim's—and is on the verge of passing out. Justice Lenehan acknowledged that the fact that the victim's shoes were on Mr. Al-Rawi's side of the taxi and her pants inside-out clearly showed that he had removed both without her help. Justice Lenehan conceded that he was disturbed by the fact that Mr. Al-Rawi had propped the victim's legs open against the backs of the two (front) bucket seats—presumably because it demonstrated that Mr. Al-Rawi knew he was assaulting an unconscious woman. All of that should have told Justice Lenehan not only that Mr. Al-Rawi was the sole actor, but also that his victim was quite incapable of consent. (Unconsciousness must be viewed as a person's effective withdrawal of consent, and sexual activity that continues after a person has withdrawn consent constitutes sexual assault.)

Justice Lenehan inexplicably considered Mr. Al-Rawi's history irrelevant, that this was not the first time he was accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated passenger and that other female passengers had complained about his unwanted, late-night sexual advances. Justice Lenehan failed to take seriously Mr. Al-Rawi's predatory abuse of his victim's explicit trust in him to give her safe passage. (Justice Lenehan also disregarded Mr. Al-Rawi's abuse of the implicit trust that we, as a society, put in taxi drivers when we urge anyone under the influence needing transportation to call a taxi, to help keep our roads safe.) Justice Lenehan was seemingly unaware of the extreme vulnerability of the single woman needing such transportation late at night and of the court's need to protect her from predators. In all of this, Justice Lenehan demonstrated contempt for the victim and gross disregard for the role of the courts genuinely to protect a woman’s right to a fair trial. Justice Lenehan singularly failed to communicate the vital message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of race, social class, gender or any other factor. Please help rectify this travesty of justice.



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Mark Anderson needs your help with “The Honourable Minister of Justice, Diana C. Whalen: Remove Judge Gregory Lenehan from the Bench for Decision in "Drunk Can Consent" Ruling”. Join Mark and 37 supporters today.