POLITICS

Accusers in sexual abuse case should be charged with perjury: Ernest MacIntosh

09/18/2013 02:35 EDT | Updated 11/18/2013 05:12 EST
HALIFAX - A former Cape Breton businessman accused of sexually abusing boys in the 1970s says two of his accusers should face perjury charges because their testimony lacked credibility.

But Nova Scotia's Justice Department rejected the suggestion Wednesday, saying it was the complainants who did not get the justice they deserved.

In April, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a lower court ruling that quashed all of the charges against Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh, saying it took too long for the case to get to trial.

His lawyer, Brian Casey, confirmed Wednesday that MacIntosh submitted a letter in May to provincial Justice Minister Ross Landry asking him to consider charges against two complainants, who MacIntosh identifies only by initials.

Casey said MacIntosh decided to make his letter public to draw attention to a Nova Scotia Court of Appeal decision in 2011 that rejected all 17 convictions against him partly because the court said some complainants lacked credibility.

Tara Walsh, a spokeswoman for Landry, issued a statement saying the department had received MacIntosh's letter, but it wasn't about to take any action.

"We respect the victims and will support them during this time, as government has tried to do throughout this horrible situation," Walsh said.

She said Landry issued a statement in July, which said the outcome of the case was "heartbreaking," and that the people who came forward to testify "did not get the justice they deserve."

Casey said MacIntosh, who was extradited to face the charges in Canada, couldn't be reached for comment because he is travelling outside the country.

MacIntosh's letter says media reports have focused on the Supreme Court of Canada's decision five months ago, which was based solely on grounds that the 14-year delay between the original allegations and his first trial was too long.

"Not surprisingly, the process has caused (MacIntosh) a great deal of pain and discomfort, and has left the public with the impression that he got off because the Crown took too long to bring the charges forward," Casey said in an interview.

"He didn't think much attention was being paid to the other part of the Court of Appeal's decision."

Before the Justice Department's reacted to his client's letter, Casey said it was unlikely perjury charges would be laid.

"It doesn't happen very often in cases, even when people are acquitted and there are comments about credibility by the court," he said. "There are fairly high evidential burdens for the court to overcome before there can be a conviction."

MacIntosh's four-page letter says he has always maintained his innocence and that he would welcome a public inquiry into the case so long as it went beyond looking into what caused the delays.

The letter refers to the two men by the initials DRS and JH, but the appeal court decision doesn't make reference to a JH. Casey said in court documents, the initials JAH correspond with those MacIntosh refers to as JH.

Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay said in July it was too early to say if there will be a public inquiry.

Earlier that month, an internal provincial review concluded that the workload facing a Crown attorney in Nova Scotia and two unwarranted passport renewals were among several factors that delayed MacIntosh's extradition from India.

MacIntosh concludes his letter by stating he has suffered greatly as a result of the allegations against him, having lost his job in India as a vice-president of a telecommunications firm.

"I was incarcerated for two months in the notorious Tihar Prison. I slept on a dirty cement floor among vermin, reptiles and notoriously dangerous criminals," the letter says.

"I was incarcerated in Nova Scotia for an additional 17 months, much of that time in solitary confinement, and at other times forced to sleep on the floor of a one-bunk cell, inches from the open toilet."

MacIntosh was in India working as a consultant when the allegations first surfaced in 1995, but he wasn't extradited to Canada until 2007, and his first trial didn't start until 2010.

Casey has said his client wasn't trying to evade the authorities while living in India, adding that the police officer in charge of the case had MacIntosh's address starting in February 1995.

MacIntosh eventually faced two trials, each dealing with a separate group of complainants. At the end of the trials, we was convicted of molesting four boys. The convictions included eight counts of indecent assault and nine counts of gross indecency.