Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh seeks approval to sue accusers

·2 min read
A file photo of Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh from 2010. MacIntosh is seeking the court's permission to countersue 6 men who accuse him of sexual assault. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)
A file photo of Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh from 2010. MacIntosh is seeking the court's permission to countersue 6 men who accuse him of sexual assault. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)

A man accused of sexually abusing boys in Cape Breton in the 1970s is seeking permission from the Nova Scotia Supreme Court to sue his accusers.

In late December, Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh filed an application to amend his notice of defence and to file a counterclaim against six men who filed a lawsuit against him in 2019.

The former businessman was convicted during trials in 2010 and 2011 on a total of 17 counts related to child sex crimes said to have happened in Cape Breton during the 1970s. Those convictions were overturned on appeal when it was ruled it took too long to get MacIntosh to trial, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.

In MacIntosh's original statement of defence, he denied any sexual abuse or assault took place. He said any sexual interactions that did happen were consensual and happened when his accusers were of age.

A judge is scheduled to hear MacIntosh's motion on March 4.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Daniel Naymark of Toronto-based Naymark Law, declined comment. MacIntosh's lawyer, Lisa Delaney of Halifax-based firm Cox & Palmer, also declined comment.

Not an unusual step

Trevor Farrow, a professor and former associate dean at Osgoode Hall Law School, said in general, filing a counterclaim is not an unusual step by a defendant. He said there are two main reasons it happens.

"The first is because the defendant has a good faith reason to bring a claim back against the plaintiff, that there's some reason in the relationship that warrants a claim back against the plaintiff," Farrow said in an interview.

"A second reason, which is sometimes much more problematic, is a strategic reason. It is to either bully the plaintiff [or] pressure the plaintiff into dropping the case or to up the stakes on why a negotiated settlement might work out better or why the plaintiff might reduce their claim in order to get rid of a counterclaim."

The men suing MacIntosh — Robert Michael Martin, Dale Robert Sutherland, Weldon MacIntosh-Reynolds, Alvin MacInnis, Barry Alexander Sutherland and Jeffrey Allan Hadley — are seeking general and aggravated damages of $300,000 each, punitive damages of $50,000 and special damages of an amount to be determined. Their allegations have not been proven in court.

Unrelated to MacIntosh's legal issues in Canada, he was convicted in 2015 of sexual abuse in Nepal after allegedly luring a nine-year-old boy to a hotel for sex.

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