Assistant Crown attorney John Ramsay said Hassan Jabar Majli, 36, abused a position of trust when he took advantage of a female passenger, who had been drinking, after driving her home on June 23, 2007.
Majli, who has lost his taxi licence since the incident, was found guilty of sexual assault in May after court heard testimony from the victim, a teacher, about how the driver followed her into the apartment block and kissed her on the mouth as she tried to get on the elevator. The victim, who can’t be identified due to a publication ban, testified the driver then put his hand up her skirt and digitally penetrated her as she tried to flee through a stairway door.
The woman admitted she had drunk between 10 and 12 pints of beer before getting in the cab.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Denis Power found there was sufficient evidence that Majli grabbed and kissed the woman, but concluded the Crown hadn’t proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he digitally penetrated her.
At trial, Majli testified that he believed the woman had asked for a kiss. Majli said he offered her a “friendly” kiss when he became worried she would complain to his boss that he didn’t “please her.”
Majli’s lawyer, Alan Brass, argued during his sentencing submissions that Majli, a married father of a young boy, has led a respectable life since arriving in Canada from Kuwait and presents no risk to the public.
“He was found guilty of a kiss,” said Brass, who argued Majli should receive a suspended sentence with credit for four days he spent in pre-trial custody. Brass said his client maintains his innocence.
“There was no violence, no force associated with the facts that were put before the court,” said Brass. But Ramsay said the sexual assault Majli of which was convicted “was not just a peck on the cheek outside a subway stand.”
“It’s not just a kiss. It’s a taxi driver following his female fare from place to place,” said Ramsay, who asked the judge for a sentence of 30 to 60 days in jail. “No kiss should be given to him on sentencing, either.”
In a victim-impact statement read by the Crown, the woman said the sexual assault has robbed her of her independence. She wrote she is now less trusting and has become suspicious of men.
“I did not deserve any of this and it makes me angry to think that it all could have been avoided if the accused had simply admitted his guilt,” she wrote. “I do hope with time the memories will fade and I can forget it ever happened. I am not convinced I will ever fully be at peace with this matter until the accused admits to his actions and his guilt. I deserve at least that,” she wrote.
Majli is to be sentenced Aug. 18.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
At first glance, its an extremely rare event that a taxi driver is charged with sexual assault, and its also extremely rare for a woman to lay that kind of complaint but not unheard of. Its also not out of the realm of possibility that the accuser may have, repeat may have, been on a vendetta to get a male into trouble, perhaps she was doing a course on 'women's studies" perhaps she wanted to be able to declare herself a victim of a sexual assault for a variety of reasons. Perhaps she was mentally ill and all those kind of questions are not the sort of questions that you can expect to be permitted by Justice Denis Power, but again, there is nothing in this report that says that but anyone familiar with Justice Denis Power also knows how he makes political rather than legal decision.
Justice Denis Power often shows his thinking , and reasoning or the lack of, in his writing.
Take this gem
"Ontario Superior Court Justice Denis Power found there was sufficient evidence that Majli grabbed and kissed the woman, but concluded the Crown hadn’t proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he digitally penetrated her."
Its a he said she said, the only reason that Power can "find" that he kissed her" is because he admitted "kissing her", he did not admit to "grabbing her".
Just because the accused "admitted" kissing her, is not and cannot be an admission of "grabbing her"
He said, she said cases are rarely ever sufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt, except when you are Justice Denis Power and you walk into the court room with pre formed conclusions on credibility based on irrelevant issues such as race, citizenship and gender.