Federal Involvement in the Case of Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh

Introduction

Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh was extradited to Canada from India in June 2007 to stand trial on 43 charges of sexual abuse. The charges related to incidents involving nine young persons between 1970 and 1977. Mr. MacIntosh was brought back to Canada to face justice after a lengthy investigation and extradition process that began in February 1995 when the first complainant went to the police.

In trials that took place in July and December 2010, Mr. MacIntosh was found guilty on a total of 17 counts. However, a year later, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal quashed the convictions and entered a stay on all charges, ruling that the delay in bringing Mr. MacIntosh to trial was unreasonable and breached his right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to be tried within a reasonable time.

In April, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the Crown’s appeal. This ended the 18-year effort by provincial and federal authorities to bring Mr. MacIntosh before Canadian courts to answer the very serious charges of sexual assault of children against him.

Sadly, the delay that led to the criminal proceedings being dropped against Mr. MacIntosh cannot be reversed; however, all public authorities involved in the case can still review what transpired and account for what happened and take responsibility for what occurred.

This report is the result of a thorough examination of the role that federal authorities played in these unfortunate events in order to determine how the Government of Canada’s actions contributed to this outcome. The review included analysis of all available evidence from the federal departments and agencies implicated in the MacIntosh file.

This report also identifies changes implemented in the intervening years to ensure that the mistakes made are not repeated. When read with the provincial reports, the findings will contribute to the public understanding of what took place and, it is hoped, help to restore confidence in the criminal justice system and the other institutions involved. Most importantly, it is hoped that although the devastating consequences cannot be undone, the explanations found here can bring some measure of understanding to the victims and their families who were directly affected by these failures and allow them to move past these difficult facts.

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