Halifax taxi driver charged with sexual assault for second time this week
By Brett Bundale, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published Tuesday, January 8, 2019 4:34PM AST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 8, 2019 7:13PM AST
Halifax is again grappling with multiple sex-assault allegations against taxi drivers in the city, with two cabbies charged in as many days amid the ongoing trial of a third.
Police said Tuesday that Seyed Abolghasem Sadat Lavasani Bozor, 74, was charged with sexual assault in an alleged incident last year.
They said at about 4:25 a.m. on Sept. 17, they responded to a report of a sexual assault that occurred about two hours earlier in Halifax.
Police said the taxi driver drove two female passengers to a residence and sexually assaulted one of the passengers, a woman in her 20s, while she was in the vehicle.
It's at least the fifth case of a Halifax taxi driver charged with sexually assaulting a female passenger since 2015.
The latest criminal charge against a local cabbie comes a day after police said a 36-year-old driver allegedly sexually assaulted a female passenger in his cab outside a residence on the Halifax peninsula early Sunday.
Const. John MacLeod said Monday police responded to a call for help around 5:45 a.m. and officers arrested the driver that afternoon.
The accused, who has not been named, was charged with sexual assault and released pending an appearance at Halifax provincial court. His taxi licence has been suspended.
Bozor, meanwhile, was scheduled to appear in provincial court Tuesday. Police said investigators with the Sexual Assault Investigation Team arrested him Nov. 27.
Police are not releasing where the sexual assault occurred, to protect the identity of the victim.
Erin DiCarlo, a spokeswoman for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said Tuesday Bozor's licence was suspended.
Also this week, former cabbie Bassam Al-Rawi is facing a retrial for allegedly sexually assaulting a female passenger in his vehicle in 2015.
Meanwhile, last spring, Halifax taxi driver Seyed Mirsaeid-Ghazi -- accused of groping a female passenger -- was found not guilty of sexual assault.
In another case, the Crown dropped a sexual assault charge against cabbie Farset Mohammad last May, saying there was no realistic prospect of conviction.
In response to a growing demand for female taxi drivers in Halifax, Crissy McDow launched Lady Drive Her, an airport service with all-women drivers in 2017.
"We launched around the same time (Al-Rawi) was in court and it was kind of a coincidence," she said Monday.
"I hear all kinds of stories -- women who have been assaulted and they're terrified to get into a taxi, and I can understand that," she said.
DiCarlo noted Tuesday that a report on the region's taxi and limousine industry, including on possible safety measures, will be going to Halifax councillors next month.
A 74-year-old male taxi driver has been charged with sexual assault. Halifax Regional Police say Seyed Abolghasem Sadat Lavasani Bozor was scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial Court today. @CTVAtlantic— Amanda Debison (@ADebisonCTV) January 8, 2019