Thursday, March 5, 2015

How Canada came to export a sex offender

Last Sunday, hours after Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh was sentenced in Lalitpur, Nepal to seven years in prison for sexually assaulting a nine-year-old boy, Bob Martin sent an email to the Kathmandu police: “Great work Nepalese public police and district court,” he wrote, “Nepal 1—Canada 0. You get the gold in Justice Olympics.” The sports analogy was apt. The Port Hood, N.S., photographer, one of four boys MacIntosh was convicted of sexually assaulting in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., in the 1970s, had come to see bringing MacIntosh to justice as a losing game, an unending marathon that began when he was a teenager, more than 40 years ago.

The speed with which the 71-year-old Nova Scotia man was brought to justice in Nepal—arrested in mid-December 2014, days after the boy went to police, sentenced on March 1—stands in stark contrast to how the MacIntosh case played out in Canada: the first complaint was made in 1995; 15 years later he was convicted on 17 charges related to sexual assault. The glacial pace—which would be attributed later, in internal provincial and federal government reviews, to bureaucratic bungling—gave the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal grounds to determine that MacIntosh’s right to be tried within a “reasonable” time had been violated, a ruling upheld in 2013 by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The story of how Canada exported MacIntosh to do global damage is not simply a tale of massive administrative failure. It begins with residents of a small Cape Breton town exercising wilful blindness toward a politically well-connected, well-off citizen at a time sexual assault was less understood; it includes a federal government that allowed a man charged with sexually assaulting children to keep his passport and to be issued new ones, and a provincial government that refuses to look back even now.  (more...)

No comments:

Post a Comment