New laws in Halifax are allowing for retrospective civil lawsuits in sexual assault cases. Halifax is aiming to remove the limitation period for victims of sexual assault to take civil action. Civil actions do not include criminal prosecution. Civil actions allow for victims of sexual assault to obtain financial compensation for their psychological and physical trauma and emotional distress.
This change came about after the lobbying efforts of individuals who were allegedly sexually assaulted by Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh. These individuals lobbied the provincial government until their demands were met.
Former businessman MacIntosh was residing in India when allegations of sexual assault arose in 1995. He had allegedly sexually abused boys in Cape Breton twenty-five years earlier (the 1970s). When action was taken against MacIntosh in 2010, the convictions were quashed as a result of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling. The court had ruled MacIntosh’s case had exceeded the limitation period to go to trial.
Today that decision has been addressed and amends the bill that was introduced last autumn.
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