Halifax — A cab driver was recently acquitted of sexual assault after a woman was found passed out in his vehicle and a Nova Scotia judge ruled that “a drunk can consent.” In his ruling, Judge Gregory Lenehan said the prosecution had not offered sufficient evidence that the woman had not consented.
Despite the waves of criticism directed at him, Lenehan now says drunks have been pushed to the sidelines of society for too long, and he plans to fight for a drunk’s right to choose — whether or not that means the drunk could potentially hurt themselves and others.
“If someone impaired by alcohol can consent to sexual activity, as the law actually says, it stands to reason that they are also fully capable of judging whether they’re ‘OK to drive,'” said Judge Lenehan. “And to take it a step further, I believe someone who’s completely mentally and physically incapacitated by alcohol should be allowed to decide whether they can perform their job — even if they’re a surgeon or a pilot. Anything less is discrimination against drunks.”
Local drunk Bryce McCoy spoke with us after he had eight beers at the Economy Shoe Shop in Halifax. “NOooo one can tellme whatta do…!” he slurred, letting out a massive belch and slamming his glass down on the table.
“Imma drive home tonight. Where my keeeeeeys, man! Gimme my effin’ keys! An’ Where’s my phone!?” McCoy then stumbled out of the establishment, forgetting to pay his bill, which our reporter was forced to cover.
The next morning, McCoy claimed he had no recollection of the interview — or of any part of the evening — and was lucky to get home alive. “Oh god, my head is pounding,” he said on the phone. “I actually thought I could drive myself home safely? Man, I’m an idiot when I’m drunk. I’m so embarrassed… it’ll never happen again.”
“Clearly, a drunk can drive,” said Judge Lenehan, of McCoy’s situation. “He wasn’t caught, but I would have let him off for sure.”
Lenehan then told us that he knows from personal experience how it feels to be treated as “less than” while intoxicated. “One time I was at the casino, just friggin’ wasted, and I wanted to bet my retirement fund on Blackjack. My buddy wouldn’t let me do it, just because I was drunk.
“I was like, ‘Hello, I’m still me, I’m a judge for god’s sake — I’m super smart and capable and educated and just get off my back!!’ I ended up passing out in the hotel a couple minutes later, but who knows how rich I would be right now if I hadn’t been held back by my so-called friend?”
Lenehan said he hopes because of this recent cab case, drunks will begin to stand up for their own right to do everything that sober people can, and together, they’ll change the prejudiced laws surrounding impairment.
“If they won’t fight for their rights, I will. If they can consent, and drive, who knows what other great things the impaired segment of our population is capable of? I for one hope that in the future we’ll see drunk people taken seriously instead of put to bed with an Advil and a glass of water.”