Victim upset law to eliminate time limits for sex abuse lawsuits isn't retroactive
Published Friday, November 14, 2014 6:27PM AST
Last Updated Saturday, November 15, 2014 3:41PM AST
A sexual assault victim is criticizing a change to a Nova Scotia law that would remove time limitations for sexual assault victims to sue their abusers.
Victims currently have one year to sue their alleged attacker, but the province is looking to remove the one-year limitation.
But the new law isn’t retroactive, so it won’t apply to a victim who was assaulted before the bill is passed.
“Again, we’re out of luck,” says Bob Martin. “So the government is telling me, you know, I guess it’s just best that I get abused next week, instead of 10 years ago.”
Two years ago, former Cape Breton businessman Fenwick MacIntosh was convicted of assaulting Martin and others in the 1970s and 1980s, but the convictions were overturned less than a year later.
Martin says it’s not about the money, but about justice for past victims.
“There’s other complainants in this case that are in the ditch. They need help,” says Martin, who publicly identified himself as a victim last month. “There’s a good lawyer trying to help them. The government’s going to shut the door on these other men that need this help.”
Nova Scotia Justice Minister Lena Diab says retroactive changes to the Limitations of Actions Act are not normally done in Canada.
“It’s a very difficult topic. It’s one that we’ve tried to address, but I understand where they’re coming from,” says Diab. “Believe me, it’s very difficult.”
But Progressive Conservative MLA Allan MacMaster disagrees.
“According to the legal advice we have, the person had expressed to me that the minister is dead wrong,” says MacMaster. “This has been done in other provinces.”
Martin says four provinces do not have time limits on when sexual assault victims can sue and he is disappointed Nova Scotia isn’t one of them.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh