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June 1, 07

NEWS / Passport ruling left accused sex offender free to roam



Nine years ago, a Federal Court judge temporarily overturned a Passport Canada decision to revoke Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh’s passport and left the accused sex offender free to travel the world — at least for a few months.

Justice Paul Rouleau ruled in a Federal Court of Canada decision dated Jan. 20, 1998, and obtained Thursday by The Chronicle Herald that taking away Mr. MacIntosh’s passport would have put him out of work very quickly.

That decision gave him a passport until May 26, 1998. Exactly what happened after that date is not clear, but Mr. MacIntosh has lived in India and was able to avoid prosecution until Canadian authorities caught up to him this spring.

Mr. MacIntosh, 63, is now in custody in India awaiting the final decision on his extradition. Three RCMP officers from the Port Hawkesbury detachment are flying from Halifax today to take him back to Nova Scotia to face his accusers.

"With their presence there, hopefully that will speed this up," RCMP spokesman Const. Grant Webber said.

Mr. MacIntosh is wanted in this province on more than 40 sex-related charges involving several boys. The offences are all alleged to have taken place in the early to mid-1970s.

A year before the first charges were laid against him in 1995 and a Canada-wide warrant was issued for his arrest, Mr. MacIntosh, who had operated his own electronics company in the Strait area, moved to India.

According to the court decision, Mr. MacIntosh was told in September 1997 that Passport Canada was going to revoke his passport.

"Should the passport be revoked, the applicant would be subject to loss of employment almost immediately and, should the nature of the alleged criminal offences be disclosed (it) would also in the alternative be sufficient to cause irreparable harm, which I am not satisfied could be compensated by damages," Justice Rouleau wrote.

The judge said the only evidence provided to him at the hearing was from Mr. MacIntosh’s lawyer.

"There is no material supporting the respondent’s position that there are outstanding warrants of arrest," the judge wrote.

The court was told that the RCMP had phoned Passport Canada to say there was a warrant for Mr. MacIntosh’s arrest.

But it was Justice Rouleau’s opinion that the RCMP were trying to use the passport regulations to further their investigation of Mr. MacIntosh, "when there is no evidence of any misconduct or fraudulent activity alleged on the part of this individual in the exercise of his professional pursuits abroad."

The judge decided he would let Mr. MacIntosh keep his passport until May 26, 1998, in order to give him more time to prepare a defence for his passport revocation proceeding.

Justice Rouleau ordered Mr. MacIntosh to file a sworn affidavit with the court and to come back to Canada by March 30, 1998, to be cross-examined on his affidavit. The matter was scheduled to return to court on May 26.

Passport Canada has not commented on Mr. MacIntosh’s case on the grounds of privacy issues, but a representative did speak to The Chronicle Herald briefly on Thursday.

"The one belief that is out there is that we absolutely missed this case, and that’s not accurate," Passport Canada spokesman Fabien Lengelle said.

"We took appropriate action. Mr. MacIntosh fought it in court, and the Federal Court rendered its decision. I can tell you this because the court record is public."

By DAVENE JEFFREY

Tags: court record,
 




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