Court says no to taxi driver’s release pending sex assault appeal

An Alberta judge says a taxi driver convicted of sexually assaulting

CALGARY — An Alberta judge says a taxi driver convicted of sexually assaulting an impaired woman he drove home from a Calgary bar must remain in jail.

Lemuel Paulos was sentenced to four years in prison in January and had applied to be released on bail pending his appeal.

During his trial, Paulos testified in his own defence that it was the woman who attacked him in 2013.

He said she threatened to “cry rape” if he didn’t have sex with her.

Justice Bruce McDonald of the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled against Paulos’ bail application, saying his evidence at the trial last year bordered on preposterous.

McDonald says Paulos was convicted of crime in which he took advantage of a vulnerable, inebriated, middle-aged woman, who had trusted him to get her home safely.

“It goes without saying that on the facts as found by the trial judge, this amounted to amongst other things a gross violation of trust, in addition to being a brutal sexual assault,” he wrote in his decision released Wednesday.

“In my view, the informed public would quite properly be offended at the prospect of an individual — who has received a sentence of four years’ incarceration for a violent sexual assault — would be on release pending appeal.”

During the trial the victim testified that Paulos turned off the engine of his cab when they arrived at her home and sexually assaulted her in the vehicle.

Paulos testified that the woman forced him to have sex, but he did not report what happened because of shame and humiliation.

He alleged the trial judge made mistakes in the case for finding it incredible that the woman would demand sex, would willingly have sex with a stranger without a condom and that he failed to resist or try to get away.

McDonald said he shared the trial judge’s concerns about the evidence.

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