Warning: This story contains graphic details from court testimony.

An organization that fights international child exploitation is demanding a public inquiry into why a pedophile was allowed to live in India for years while he was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.

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RCMP officers escort Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh at the Halifax airport in June 2007. ((Andrew Vaughn/Canadian Press))

Rosalind Prober, co-founder of Beyond Borders, said Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh's case is a failure of the Canadian justice system.

"This case is so far off the radar screen in terms of incompetence by so many people that there has to be more done to find out what went wrong," she told CBC News.

Only a public inquiry will show who should be held accountable, Prober said.

MacIntosh was sentenced on Tuesday to four years in prison for sexually abusing two boys in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., in the 1970s, and faces three more accusers in March.

However, 12 years passed from the time the first victim came forward, in 1995, and when the RCMP extradited MacIntosh from India in 2007 to face the 36 charges laid against him. 

MacIntosh's passport was renewed twice in that time, despite a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest.

Victim molested 100 times

One of MacIntosh's victims, whose identity is protected by a court order but who is referred to in court documents as D.S., told CBC News many mistakes were made along the way.

"There's no doubt in my mind whatsoever that he could have been brought home much sooner," D.S. said.

During the trial he testified he was sexually assaulted about 100 times in the early 1970s, starting when he was about nine and continuing until he was 12 or 13. MacIntosh, a friend of the family, would take D.S. on hunting trips and other outings, rubbing the boy's crotch and performing oral sex on him, D.S. said.

D.S. moved on with his life, but said he decided to come forward in 1995 because his wife works in child protection and he realized MacIntosh might be abusing other boys. He approached the RCMP in British Columbia., where he now lives.

By the time D.S. came forward, MacIntosh was working in India for California Microwave, an international supplier of microwave radios and telecommunications satellites.

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MacIntosh had two new passports issued while there was a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest. ((CBC))

He needed a passport to do his job, and got two renewals despite the warrant issued in 1996.

Gar Pardy, the director-general of Canada's Consular Affairs Bureau from 1992 to 2003, said he was made aware of MacIntosh's warrant, not by the RCMP but by D.S. himself.

Pardy said he contacted RCMP in Nova Scotia, and then the passport office became involved. MacIntosh was put on a passport control list and government embassies and high commissions overseas were warned about him in the fall of 1996.

"It is incumbent upon all our offices overseas when they receive an application for a passport or a renewal of a passport that they check to see whether the applicant is included on the passport control list," Pardy said. "Unfortunately, that did not happen and our office in New Delhi did issue a new passport to Mr. MacIntosh."

The passport was issued in May 1997, he said.

When Pardy's office learned that the passport had been issued, it asked Passport Canada to consider a revocation order to reclaim the passport, and the passport office obliged.

MacIntosh appealed the revocation and won. In his ruling, the judge noted that the Crown did not bring forward a copy of the arrest warrant.

"Why that kind of information did not go to the federal court judge?  I'm bewildered because it was so basic to the issuance of the revocation order," Pardy said.

'Nobody was following the case'

In 2002, the passport was renewed again, "which suggests to me that certainly nobody was following the case in the Department of Justice with any degree of intensity," Pardy said. 

Passport Canada turned down CBC's request for any information related to MacIntosh.

D.S. also told CBC News that MacIntosh had an apartment in Montreal and flew in and out of Canada freely despite the warrant. A cousin of D.S.'s ran into MacIntosh at an airport in Paris and, not realizing the charges against him, got his telephone number. 

When D.S. learned about the encounter, he gave the RCMP MacIntosh's Montreal phone number.

D.S. followed up with the RCMP a week later, only to learn that the police had left a message for MacIntosh with somebody who answered the phone, asking him to call the RCMP. By the time the police went to his apartment, he had fled, D.S. says.

"What a bunch of dunces!," D.S. said. "I just started realizing that, you know, our system is a farce."

'This can never happen in Canada again'—Rosalind Prober, co-founder of Beyond Borders

The RCMP always had the opportunity to extradite MacIntosh, but the case was delayed further because three years after the extradition process started, the Department of Justice informed the Crown that when somebody is extradited they can only face the charges for which they were extradited.

But by August 2001, eight more men had come forward with accusations against MacIntosh.

Delay 'quite disturbing'

Diane McGraw, the Crown prosecutor who recently took charge of the case, said part of the reason for the delay was that this was the first time the Canadian government had sought extradition of an individual from India, "so there was a bit of a learning curve as well in terms of what documentation India required [and] what form that documentation had to take."  

Many of the complainants were also scattered across Canada, she said.

Pardy doesn't believe that justifies the multi-year delay. He says the long wait is "quite disturbing" and said it was fortunate the delay didn't force the judge to throw the charges out.

D.S. says he believes the only reason the case gained any traction was because he approached Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay of Nova Scotia, who asked the province's attorney general to extradite MacIntosh back to Canada.