Nova Scotia·Updated

MacIntosh sex abuse case to get Supreme Court hearing

Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh is headed back to court.
Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh heads from Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in Halifax in 2010. (Canadian Press)

Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh is headed back to court.

The Supreme Court of Canada has granted the Crown leave to appeal an earlier decision that set aside his 17 convictions for gross indecency and indecent assault in the 1970s.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal had acquitted MacIntosh on charges from several accusers, on the grounds the case took too long to come to trial.

The allegations stem from the 1970s and did not go to trial until 2010.

The allegations surfaced in 1995, when MacIntosh was living in New Delhi, India, working as a telecommunications specialist. Although the Crown knew where he was living, it didn't make an extradition request until 2006. MacIntosh was arrested in April 2007, and extradited to Canada two months later, but it took until 2010 to bring him to trial.

MacIntosh went through two separate trials, for a total of 36 charges and six complainants. In one trial, he contended that he had performed oral sex on two of the complainants, but that they were over the age of consent, and that there was a consensual relationship.

The complainants said MacIntosh repeatedly fondled and performed oral sex on them when they were between 11 and 13 years old.

He was convicted on 17 counts, between the two trials, and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail, in July 2010. The defence appealed those convictions, on the premise that the Crown had violated his right to be tried within a reasonable amount of time, under Section 11(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Justice Duncan Beveridge agreed, writing on behalf of a panel of three judges of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.

"Applying the proper principles, and balancing the length of the delay with the explanation for it and the prejudice to the appellant and society’s interest in a trial on the merits, the delay was unreasonable," Beveridge wrote in December 2011, in overturning all of the convictions.

The Supreme Court will now hear an appeal of that verdict.