Feds announce internal review into Fenwick MacIntosh case

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OTTAWA (CP) — The federal government says it will conduct an internal review of its involvement in the case of Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh.

Ernest Fenwick (Fen) MacIntosh walked out of the Sydney Justice Centre, after being released on bail in April 2008, in this Post file photo. His application for a stay in 36 sex charges has been denied.

The former Cape Breton businessman had 17 sexual abuse convictions thrown out when the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal ruled in 2011 that his case took too long to get to trial.

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld that decision earlier this year, saying the 14-year delay it took to bring the matter to trial was unreasonable.

MacIntosh was in India working as a consultant when the sex abuse allegations first surfaced in 1995, but he wasn’t extradited to Canada until 2007 and his first trial didn’t start until 2010.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay says the review will analyze the extradition, passport and border control aspects of the MacIntosh case.

MacKay says the review’s findings will be made public by Oct. 31.

“Our government takes offences involving child abuse very seriously and it is important to review this matter to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again,” he said in a statement Friday.

“This internal review is essential to the public’s confidence in Canada’s justice system.”

A provincial review of the case earlier this year found the delay was partly caused by the heavy workload facing a Crown attorney in Nova Scotia and two unexplained passport renewals that allowed MacIntosh to stay in India for years before he was extradited.

MacIntosh’s passport was renewed in 1997 and in 2002, despite the fact he faced outstanding charges and a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

Passport Canada said in July that it has revised its policies and procedures as a result of the case in an effort to minimize the “risk of a recurrence of a similar incident.”

Brian Casey, one of MacIntosh’s defence lawyers, has said his client didn’t try to hide from Canadian authorities during his time in India. Casey said the police officer in charge of the case had MacIntosh’s address as early as February 1995 and that his client lived within three blocks of the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi, where he went regularly to renew his passport.

Casey said MacIntosh had given his address and telephone number to the Canadian government and was living openly under his own name.

In May, MacIntosh wrote a letter to the provincial justice minister saying he maintains his innocence and would welcome a public inquiry into the case as long as it went beyond examining what caused the delays to bring his matter to trial.

 

Geographic location: Canada

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