While there are very few things that are as traumatic as rape, there are also very few criminal charges that carry such weight as rape. Even though it is always important to be sensitive to anyone in Markham who claims to have been raped, it is always important that an accuser's story is checked out so that someone is not wrongfully convicted of the crime. In the Crown's effort to hold people accountable for rape, it is essential that someone's liberty is not sacrificed.
Sadly, it has taken more than 40 years for a now-Alberta man to escape from a wrongful sexual assault allegation. In 1970, the then-19-year-old man was living in Nova Scotia when he was accused of rape
by a 14-year-old. What could have been resolved by a quick paternity test today has taken a considerable amount of time to sort itself out. It was only in 2008 that the now-woman has said that it was her brother who sexually assaulted her, not the man who was accused of raping her.
Although it is tragic that this woman had to live with long-standing sexual abuse from her brother, including what can only be assumed was an unplanned pregnancy, it does not make up for the wrongful accusation. While it seems that her father was the one that pressured her to lie, it was up to the police and the Crown to actually investigate the allegation, not to take it at face value. Had they done their job, perhaps this man would not have had to live with a sexual assault allegation hanging over his head.
CBC News, "Gerry Gaston Barton, wrongly convicted of rape, set to sue
," March 28, 2014