Nova Scotia

N.S. Crown prosecutors to ask Supreme Court of Canada to reinstate sex assault charge

Nova Scotia Crown prosecutors will ask the Supreme Court of Canada to reinstate a sexual assault charge that was stayed because the case took too long to complete. The charge is against 34-year-old Jordan Michael Ellis.

Charge against Jordan Michael Ellis was stayed because case took too long to complete

Nova Scotia Crown prosecutors will ask the Supreme Court of Canada to reinstate a sexual assault charge against a man from Hillsburn, Annapolis County. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)

Nova Scotia Crown prosecutors will ask the Supreme Court of Canada to reinstate a sexual assault charge that was stayed because the case took too long to complete.

The charge against 34-year-old Jordan Michael Ellis of Hillsburn, Annapolis County relates to an incident on April 21, 2017. A woman says says Ellis raped her when they met in person after exchanging Facebook messages and phone calls.

The woman submitted to a rape kit after she lodged her complaint, but police misplaced evidence photos. The delay in finding the photos pushed the trial past the 18-month maximum the Supreme Court set for having these matters dealt with in provincial court.

Judge Alan Tufts entered a stay. Earlier this month, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal upheld Tufts's decision.

The Crown plans to file paperwork early in 2021 to seek leave to appeal to Canada's highest court.

Complainant disillusioned

The whole experience has left the complainant in this case disillusioned by the entire justice system.

"I was very, very, very disappointed in the way that they had treated me," she said.

"They don't communicate, they don't send files, they don't call when they say they're going to call."

In previous stories, CBC News has referred to her as Nicole. Her true identity is protected by a publication ban, although she said she has made no secret of who she is or what she has endured.

"It has created a support system," she told CBC last week. "It's brought a lot of people, adding friends on Facebook or just getting messages from strangers, different things.

"So yeah, it's made a difference that way to at least know that some people are responding, some people hear it. Unfortunately, I just don't think that the provincial government has heard it."

Statement from N.S. Justice Department

When asked to respond to Nicole's complaints, a spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Justice Department said the department couldn't speak to individual cases.

However, the department issued a statement. 

 "It is very troubling whenever we hear that a victim of any crime has concerns about their experience with the justice system," the statement read, in part.

"We, along with our policing agencies and other community stakeholders are strengthening our efforts to better support victims."

The RCMP declined a request to explain how it misplaced the evidence photos and why it took so long to find them.

Nicole said there's enough blame to go around.

'Make a judgment'

"It was the RCMP's fault for moving evidence, it was the court's fault for double-booking, there was a number of different factors that caused this delay, you know.

"Make a judgment. Even if he's not guilty, at least then I would feel like they did something. It just feels like I didn't make it to the finish line fast enough."

Despite her frustration and disappointment, and despite the fact she says this experience has ruined her life, Nicole said she would go through it again to protect others.

"As awful as that is to think, like, I would put myself through that again. The amount that I have learned and I have been able to share with other women I feel makes a massive difference."

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