Wrongfully convicted man testifies about case

By: The Canadian Press

 | Apr 07, 2014 - 3:02 PM |
HALIFAX - A man wrongfully convicted of statutory rape for having sex with a 14-year-old Nova Scotia girl in 1969 testified today that at the time he was charged he never gave a statement to the RCMP and did not plead guilty at a trial, even though that's what the record shows.

Gerald Barton, who now lives in Edmonton, is suing the Nova Scotia Crown for malicious prosecution and the RCMP in Digby, N.S., for negligent investigation.

In January 2011, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal admitted fresh DNA evidence that proved Barton was not the father of the child born to the original complainant, who has since died.

The court quashed the conviction and entered an acquittal, saying Barton was the victim of a miscarriage of justice when he was 19 years old.

Earlier today, Barton told the Nova Scotia Supreme Court that he couldn't have made the statement attributed to him by the RCMP in January 1970 because he didn't even know the meaning of some of the sexually explicit words used to describe the crime in Jordantown, N.S.

Court documents say Barton, now 64, spent a short time in jail and was sentenced to a year of probation after being convicted of having sexual intercourse with a female between 14 and 16 years of age.

Those documents also say it wasn't until 2008 that his accuser admitted to the RCMP that her brother had repeatedly sexually assaulted her in the late 1960s, which led to DNA testing proving he was the father of her child.

Barton told the court that having lived with a criminal conviction as a sex offender for more than 40 years, he has had a tough time keeping a job, maintaining relationships and has long suffered mental anguish.

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