Attorney General Lena Diab will not testify in lawsuit
Gerry Barton is suing for malicious prosecution and negligent investigation by RCMP
Nova Scotia's Attorney General will not have to testify in a lawsuit launched against her department.
Lena Diab was subpoenaed to testify by lawyers for Gerry Barton. The 64-year-old former resident of the Digby area is suing for malicious prosecution and negligent investigation by the RCMP.
Barton was 19 years old and living in Digby County, N.S., in 1970 when a teenage neighbour accused him of raping her and fathering her child.
The truth started to come out in 2008 when the RCMP reopened the case.
According to court documents, that criminal investigation revealed Barton's accuser had repeatedly been sexually assaulted by her brother starting when she was just nine years old.
The woman told police that her brother was the father of her child — and she had accused Barton because her father was not willing to accept that her brother had sexually assaulted her and caused her pregnancy.
Barton, who has never been involved with police except for the rape accusation, said police officers and court officials 43 years ago did not listen to him when he insisted he had not sexually assaulted the girl.
He said he never pleaded guilty and had no trial, but was convicted of statutory rape.
"When I went to court, the only one that was there was the prosecutor and the RCMP, the judge and the family that accused me of this, and my mom and dad sitting in the back," Barton said.
"They gave me a year's probation, they threw me in jail, my mother had to put her house up to get me out of jail and for what? For what? For nothing."
After Barton's innocence was proven in 2011, he launched his lawsuit against the Attorney General of Nova Scotia and the Attorney General of Canada.
Last week, Barton's lawyer, Dale Dunlop, expressed frustration that the province has refused to negotiate with his client, forcing the matter to go to trial.
In response to Dunlop's comments, Diab said "We're not forcing anybody to do anything."
The justice minister went on to add that "All I can tell you is, you will be receiving a lot of facts when this proceeds in the courtroom."
Dunlop said Diab's comments raised questions. "What she did, unfortunately, was infer that, look, we have a good reason why we're not ready to talk to Gerry Barton about compensation."
"And I found that a bit disturbing," Dunlop said. "In other words, he doesn't deserve it. And these facts that will come out will prove why. And I don't think that's the case."
In the end, Justice Jamie Chipman who will be presiding over next week's civil case accepted arguments from government lawyers that Diab's testimony was not necessary.
A retired justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court will be testifying. Charles Halliburton was the original crown prosecutor on this case.
The original two RCMP investigators will also take the stand, along with Barton and his sister.
The civil proceeding is expected to take a week.