HALIFAX – Justice Minister Ross Landry apologized to victims and called on the federal government to act, in response to reports issued by the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service and the RCMP about the Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh case.
"The outcome of this case is heartbreaking and the people who came forward to testify about abuse did not get the justice they deserve," said Landry. "I'm deeply sorry to everyone who is suffering. What you have been through is unimaginable."
Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh was extradited from India in 2007 and convicted of 17 counts of sex offences dating back to the 1970s. In April 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the ruling of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal and overturned the convictions against Mr. MacIntosh because of the delay in bringing him to trial.
Landry immediately asked the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service and the RCMP to review their involvement in this case, to determine what led to the delay. The resulting reports identified gaps in the system.
"It's clear there are many issues and gaps that contributed to the delay and dismissal of convictions for horrible crimes," said Landry. "Nova Scotia is owning its part and making improvements. I'm also urging my federal colleagues, again, to look at their involvement and make necessary changes. We need to ensure that no one has to experience what these victims have lived through."
A number of things contributed to the delay. The most significant were the laws around extradition and privacy, the actions of Passport Canada, and the years it took to investigate multiple counts of sex offences across many jurisdictions and governments. As well, the Public Prosecution Service found that a lack of diligence and oversight in managing the case also contributed to the delay in bringing it to trial.
The RCMP did not contribute to the delay. They have taken steps in the last two decades to improve service delivery, which includes technology, better case management, investments in training and specialized legal support.
To read the full report, findings and recommendations, visit http://novascotia.ca/pps/ . The RCMP report is available by request to the RCMP H Division.