HALIFAX, NS – An inquiry is needed to investigate Judge Gregory Lenehan’s disturbing comments in relation to the case of a Halifax taxi driver who was accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated passenger. Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie has written the province’s Minister of Justice, urging the Liberal government to strike a formal inquiry.
Baillie disagrees with the Judge’s decision and has joined the chorus of Nova Scotians deeply disturbed by his flippant remarks. In his delivery of the verdict, Judge Lenehan said that “clearly, a drunk can consent.”
“This has to be addressed swiftly and conclusively. Victims must always be protected, and we need to make sure we’re operating in an environment where they know they will be treated with respect when they come forward,” said Baillie. “Rape culture is real and pervasive. The government has the power to act. They should do so without delay.”
In his letter, Baillie pointed to the example of an Alberta judge who asked a victim why she “…didn’t keep her legs together.” In that case, the provincial government acted promptly and the Justice is now facing dismissal.
Since last year, Baillie has been calling on the McNeil Liberals to strengthen Nova Scotia’s sexual assault laws and to put victims first. Last fall, he introduced a bill in the Legislature that ensures victims’ right to be treated with respect when giving evidence about sexual violence.
Baillie also wants to see a full review of the laws around sexual assault.
“Those who prey on innocent Nova Scotians need to know the full force of the law will be applied to ensure justice is served,” said Baillie. “Those who are victimized need to know they will be treated with respect and supported by their justice system. The government must act now.”