BY BOB ZIMMER
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP
I first heard the name Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh in 2011 shortly after I was first elected as your Member of Parliament. I was contacted by a constituent from Dawson Creek who shared his story of how he was sexually abused by Mr. MacIntosh in Nova Scotia when he was a young boy in the 1970s and about his fight for justice.
In 2010, Mr. MacIntosh was convicted on 17 charges related to sexual assault. However, in 2011 the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal overturned these convictions ruling that his case had taken too long to get to trial. The Supreme Court of Canada upheld this ruling in 2013.
Throughout the years this constituent has expressed his extreme disappointment and anger with how this case was handled. I could not have agreed with him more and have tried my best to help him find answers.
There have been many questions regarding why it took so long to bring Mr. MacIntosh’s case to trial, including why it took so long to extradite Mr. MacIntosh from India, where he was living when a warrant for his arrest was issued in 1996, to face these charges or how he was able to travel to India to begin with.
In 2013, then Justice Minister Peter MacKay apologized to victims for the mistakes the federal government made in this case after releasing the findings of an internal review which cited human error and institutional failures as the reasons behind the federal government’s role in the delay. Nova Scotia’s Public Prosecution Service also did an internal review into their handling of this case.
In 2014, Mr. MacIntosh was arrested in Nepal and in 2015 was sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually abusing an underage boy.
In recent weeks news emerged that Mr. MacIntosh was released from prison after only serving part of his sentence and would be coming back to Canada. This news has angered many, especially victims in Canada who do not believe they were treated fairly by our justice system. I am personally disgusted that someone who apparently shows no remorse continues to be allowed out of prison and be threat to our children. How is possible that someone like this is still allowed to be a threat to others?
I will be watching what happens next with Mr. MacIntosh closely now that he has returned to Canada. The fact that Mr. MacIntosh was able to avoid facing trial in Canada for so many years is unacceptable and it is clear that changes need to continue to be made to ensure victims of sex crimes get the support and justice they deserve.
A travesty of justice like this cannot happen again.