Exclusive: The surveillance sting that helped bring down Fenwick MacIntosh
Published Thursday, March 26, 2015 6:00PM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, March 26, 2015 8:18PM ADT
We’re getting a better idea of how former Nova Scotia businessman Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh spent his time in Kathmandu before being taken into custody on suspicion of molesting a 15-year-old back in December 2014.
Undercover images taken in the days leading up to MacIntosh’s arrest show him walking through the crowded streets of Nepal’s capital, completely unaware he is being followed.
CTV News obtained the surveillance photos from a group that asked to remain anonymous in order to protect its undercover work identifying foreigners seeking sex with children.
MacIntosh was arrested on Dec. 19 and charged with a sex-related crime against a teenage boy he met while visiting a Jesuit-run centre for disabled and impoverished children.
He was placed in Nepal’s so-called fast-track court system. It’s a relatively new addition to the country’s legal network, designed to decrease the time abuse survivors wait to get in front of a judge.
The court was used initially for cases involving the human trafficking of mostly young girls.
Tek Narayan Kunwar is a prominent judge in Nepal. His work in human trafficking cases earned him an international award last year, being presented by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
He has a reputation for sensitivity with difficult cases, and it was Kunwar who presided over the MacIntosh trial.
He sentenced the 71-year-old to seven years in prison, accomplishing in mere months what took Canadian officials years to do. The difference this time is that Nepalese justice moved quickly.
MacIntosh had been accused by a number of young men in Canada of similar offences dating back to the 1970s.
Charges were finally laid in 1995, but by that time, MacIntosh had moved to India.
It wouldn’t be until 2007 that he was arrested on 43 sex-related charges and brought back to Canada.
He went through two trials beginning in 2010 and was eventually convicted on 17 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency against young males.
Those convictions were thrown out after the courts decided it took too long to bring MacIntosh to trial. He went free, no strings attached.
Sulakshana Rana works with an advocacy group in Nepal called Saathi. Their goal is to protect at-risk women and children. She says the MacIntosh case is a wakeup call for other organizations to better screen volunteers.
“It is time that organizations running shelter homes or organizations working with children come up with standard operating procedure as to what kind of volunteers they would want in their organization,” Rana says. “Do a background check on the person they are letting into organizations."
One month into a seven-year jail term, MacIntosh hasn’t appealed his conviction. He still has another two months before that window closes for good. At this point, he’s got nothing to lose.
Speaking in Pictou, N.S. on Sunday, Justice Minister Peter MacKay had harsh words for MacIntosh.
“The sentence that he will service in Nepal is a fraction of the sentence that he would and could serve if he was held accountable for all of the criminality and the preying and predatory nature that is in his past,” the minister said.
"Where there is some justice, sadly justice failed here in Canada and had everyone perhaps done their job properly, more victims would not have emerged. We wouldn't see him serving time in a Nepalese jail; he'd be serving time here in Nova Scotia."
This case has prompted discussion in both the legal and political communities in Nepal.
Kathmandu law school professor Yubaraj Sangroula told CTV in an email this case has been widely discussed in law colleges; that new legislation is now in front of parliament.
“In the current law, there is a problem of precise decision,” he said. “In the upcoming legislation, the problem with be addressed.”
Something organizations like Saathi hope will help curb the problem of sex tourism.
“Mr. MacIntosh getting arrested and convicted for his crime, acts as a detriment to the other pedophiles who come to Nepal and think that it is a safe haven to abuse children or get easy access to children,” Sulakshana Rana says.
Canada and Nepal do not have an international transfer agreement for offenders. If no treaty is in force between Canada and a foreign entity on the transfer of offenders, the International Transfer of Offenders Act (ITOA) allows Canada to enter into an administrative arrangement with the foreign entity for the transfer on a case-by-case basis of offenders.
An administrative arrangement for transfer would require the approval of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Public Safety.
It seems highly unlikely that will happen in MacIntosh’s case.
In an earlier interview, Bob Martin, once a victim of MacIntosh and now an advocate against sexual abuse, said the conviction and seven-year sentence wasn’t something to celebrate.
“I always felt like I was detective on the beat keeping my eye on this bad boy that caused me and so many others pain,” Martin said. “So, not a reason to celebrate, but a reason to at least feel, finally, finally some justice being served here.”
Nepalese police say the latest chapter involving MacIntosh started Dec. 13 when he lured a 15-year-old boy to the Café Brazil Guest House and Coffee Shop in Kathmandu.
Lalitpur Metropolitan Police Deputy Superintendent Pawan Kumar Giri told CTV News in an email that MacIntosh assured the teen he would give him food, clothing and cash.
Giri says the teen had lost a hand in an accident and that MacIntosh promised to help.
It was when the boy entered his hotel room that Giri says MacIntosh “compelled the child to engage in unnatural masturbation.”
In an email, the hotel's manager told CTV News he was shocked when police showed up.
"Police came [into the] Guest House, search his room, and then took him for enquiry . . . he didn't come back.,” says hotel manager Sushil Tamang.
Local media reports say MacIntosh arrived in Nepal mid-August. He promoted himself as a director of the Spice Journal, an online publication dedicated to enhancing the world's knowledge of spices.
This case has put sex tourism in Nepal under the microscope. It is a very poor country, rife with legal loopholes that have made it an attractive country for foreigners.
The case has challenged Nepalese authorities to come up with new ways to deal with alleged foreign child predators.
Local media reports say MacIntosh’s victim was allowed to testify in another room so he wouldn't be intimidated by the accused — a first for the country.
Another report says MacIntosh took and failed a polygraph test, something again that is relatively new in Nepal.
The conviction in Nepal was no surprise to Bob Martin.
“Even though he’s almost 72 years of age, it’s what he always did,” Martin said in an earlier interview. “He would go after the young boys in the afternoon in our community, and he would get us, the young teenagers, at night. He was serial and it’s pathetic.”
Back in Canada, CTV News has learned that another individual has come forward with allegations similar to those laid in 1995.
However, the RCMP will not confirm or deny the existence of these new allegations, and it seems unlikely that MacIntosh will be back to face a complaint in a Nova Scotia court anytime soon.
MacIntosh has always maintained his innocence.
In the meantime, he is being held at Nakkhu Jail, located about five kilometressoutheast of Kathmandu. It’s one of the biggest jails in Nepal.
Amnesty International described it as being overcrowded and understaffed.
Last year, prisoners at the jail protested conditions. Local media reports say inmates were upset with corruption inside the jail, the poor quality of food and overall treatment by staff.
In addition to his seven-year sentence, MacIntosh has been ordered to pay $1 million Nepalese Rupees, or almost $12,650 Canadian, in reparations.
Media reports from Nepal say this is the highest amount ever in that country.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Bill Dicks