Safety concerns raised after two more taxi drivers are charged with sexual assault
Published Wednesday, January 9, 2019 10:06PM AST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 9, 2019 10:38PM AST
With sexual assault charges laid against two more taxi drivers in Halifax this past week, some are questioning just how safe women are while riding in cabs.
On Wednesday, Halifax Regional Police admitted they didn't immediately notify the taxi commission about sex assault charges against a taxi driver who is alleged to have sexually assaulted a passenger.
Seyed Abolghasem Sadat Lavasani Bozor, 74, of Halifax appeared in Halifax provincial court on Tuesday to face a charge of sexual assault related to an alleged incident last September.
Halifax police arrested him on Nov. 27 and released him that same day on a promise to appear in court, Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. John MacLeod wrote in an e-mail.
The fact that Bozor was charged was only made public by police Tuesday, the same day his licence to operate a cab was suspended.
On Wednesday, police said it shouldn't have happened that way.
“In this case it would appear that it wasn't done in the appropriate time frame that we would usually hope to do it in,” MacLeod said. “We are looking into it to make sure this doesn't happen in the future.”
In an interview earlier Wednesday, MacLeod says the charge against Bozor was actually laid “in December” and the taxi commission should have been notified then.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage says as soon as the taxi commission knew about the charges, it pulled the licence, but that didn't happen soon enough.
“Whether somebody has gone through the entire court system is up to the court system, our job is to make sure that people are safe in a taxi,” Savage said.
The charge against Bozor is the second against a Halifax taxi driver this week. Another driver, a 36-year-old man, faces charges after a woman reported she was sexually assaulted by a cabbie on Sunday.
The recent cases have shocked and disappointed taxi safety advocates Chrissy Merrigan and Amanda Dodsworth.
“It brings a lot to mind every time you hear of a new story, we’re just shocked that it’s happening again,” said Merrigan.
Said Dodsworth: “Why are we told to get in the back and take down the taxi light number, and travel in pairs, where you don't have the same advice given out to men, for the most part?”
The head of the Halifax Taxi Drivers' Association says he's also upset by the news of the recent charges and says more safety measures for all taxis in the city are coming.
“Within the month of January, GPS in taxis and cameras in taxis will be tested,” said Dave Buffett.
For their part, Merrigan and Dodsworth say they're not comfortable taking taxis in Halifax, and they'll wait to see what happens when it comes to putting in new safety measures.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.