Court reserves decision in Father MacKenzie extradition review

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Father Robert MacKenzie, fighting extradition to Scotland on sex abuse allegations, applied for a judicial review of a surrender order.

Regina Leader Post

Updated: December 4, 2019

Father Robert MacKenzie, appearing for an appeal of an extradition order back to Scotland, where he faces sexual assault allegations leaves with his defence lawyer Alan McIntyre in Regina on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has reserved its decision in an extradition case involving a Catholic priest facing physical and sexual abuse charges in Scotland.

Now 87, Father Robert MacKenzie used a walker to get into and out of court on Wednesday, when his lawyer Alan McIntyre and the lawyer for the federal government made representations on an application for judicial review of a government-issued surrender order under the Extradition Act. Details of evidence and submissions heard in court can’t be reported because of a court-imposed publication ban.

As is usual for the Court of Appeal, a date for the return of its decision has not been set.

According to previously reported information, MacKenzie faces allegations spanning 30 years — between the 1950s and 1980s — when he served as a Benedictine monk at two boys’ boarding schools.

McIntyre previously stated MacKenzie, “categorically denies now, and he has denied under oath to the minister of justice, that he was involved in any sexual impropriety.”

Father Robert Mackenzie, appearing for an appeal of an extradition order back to Scotland, where he faces sexual assault allegations, leaves the Regina courthouse with his defence lawyer Alan McIntyre on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post

Earlier this year, the Archdiocese of Regina sent a letter to its pastors and parishes, advising them of the Scottish charges against MacKenzie. The archdiocese reported the authorities had obtained a surrender order from Canada’s minister of justice. Surrender orders don’t end matters of extradition, although they are an important step. By applying to the province’s highest court for a judicial review of that order, MacKenzie is continuing to fight extradition.

McIntyre previously expressed a concern the justice minister hadn’t taken MacKenzie’s poor health into account when making its order.

Citing the publication ban, the federal ministry previously declined to comment, although a spokesperson confirmed “the ministerial process in this case is ongoing.”

No allegations of sexual abuse have been made against MacKenzie pertaining to his time serving communities in Saskatchewan, the archdiocese has said. MacKenzie — who arrived in Canada in the late 1980s — served briefly in Regina, then spent a lengthy time in Cupar as well as the neighbouring Lipton and Dysart. MacKenzie was reportedly well-liked in Cupar, where he was known to many as “Father Bob.” He retired in 2002, although he continued to assist other priests with their tasks.

The archdiocese has said it first learned in 2013 of the Scottish allegations against MacKenzie. A spokesman for the archdiocese said efforts were made at that time to prevent MacKenzie’s involvement with children and, when the investigation gathered steam a few years later, MacKenzie was removed from his role as priest and moved to a home for retired priests in Regina.

Pending a final decision in the matter, MacKenzie remains free in the community on conditions.

McIntyre previously called it irresponsible for the archdiocese to send out a letter to parishes and the media on allegations that haven’t been proven in court, adding the publicity will further damage his client’s reputation.

Media in the United Kingdom have been reporting on abuse in the two Catholic boarding schools — Fort Augustus Abbey School and Carlekemp — since 2013. Alleged survivors of sexual abuse there have described a pedophile ring involving multiple monks. MacKenzie reportedly worked in both and has been named in the U.K. news stories.

-with files from Arthur White-Crummey

This entry was posted in Accused or charged, Bishops, Canada, Scandal and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Court reserves decision in Father MacKenzie extradition review

  1. bc says:

    Father MacKenzie`s lawyer Alan McIntyre knows that the truth is the defense to slander and libel in Canada. There is nothing in the AoR`s letter that is prejudicial to Father MacKenzie`s reputation. The letter contains statements of procedural facts.
    As Sylvia had blogged earlier; there are 16 plaintiffs and 16 complaints involved in this matter which was investigated before it came to this point. I am not impressed with Father MacKenzie`s appearance with a walker: walkers can be purchased retail. Nor am I moved with him being elderly: if he can make it to the courthouse he can make it to the airport where he will be accommodated and boarded on a flight to Scotland. The thing speaks for itself: we never were dealing with a turn the other cheek/love your enemies/render to Caesar/to the cross christian; when it came to Father MacKenzie. If we had been; we would not be witnessing his attempt to stay away from the jurisdiction that wants to prosecute him. We would be hearing him praising the legal will of God; in fear without any doubt, yet willing to be wrongfully sentenced. Mercy is already designed into our legal systems and procedures. It is mercy towards suspects, those charged, the convicted and the sentenced which is the foundation of the presumption of their innocence and the non-proportionality of our sentences. For justice to not be vengeance it must be merciful.
    But mercy cannot be a consideration as long as justice is left undone. Mercy can only be applied when justice has rightly been done.

  2. northern fancy says: January 10, 2020
    summary: D. Chrystostom Alexander charges are indecent assault; assault; lewd indecent, libindinous practices and behaviour.

    • bc says:

      Fr Alexander also played the bad health card to justify his inability to defend himself. Yet Christ who according to the Gospels had been tortured before his appearance before Pilate had a bona fide case of ill health; mental for having endured the trauma of torture and physical for barely having the strength to stand up to the political and religious powers aligned against him. But Christ nevertheless subjected himself to torture and to the full weight of the Roman Empire. If Christ could do that, despite having doubts about it too; surely someone who fund raises charitably his imitation with the certainty that there is nothing to fear; would not hesitate for years to do the charitable thing; forgiving his accusers, forgiving his judge and forgiving those sentenced along with him.
      Unless he never had any credibility whatsoever.

  3. NatLog says:

    The wheels of justice move exceedingly slowly but finally Rev Denis Alexander has been extradited to Scotland to face his accusers.

    It has taken the alleged victims a lifetime to get to this point. I commend them for their fortitude and perseverance.

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum

  4. Northern Fancy says:

    January 15, 2020: Fr Robert MacKenzie: Appeal dismissed

  5. NatLog says:

    If MacKenzie wants to challenge the Appeal Court’s decision, he has until Feb. 3 to submit an application to the Supreme Court of Canada, according to Canada’s Department of Justice.

    This has the potential to run on well into 2020

    BBC Scotland Report;

  6. February 14, 2020 developments R. MacKenzie says:

    REGINA LEADER POST reports: On Friday, Feb 14, 2020, the RC Archdiocese of Regina confirmed Robert MacKenzie (87) was sent back to UK. BBC reports no plea in private appearance on charges. E. Gurash, Communications, Archdiocese expressed concern for any victims in their diocese. “We extend thoughts and prayer to those who may be hurting”. (Note: no complaints originated from Sask. parishes where MacKenzie served) In the UK, abuse was reported in 2 RC boarding schools: Fort Augustus Abbey and Carlekemp school. Mackenzie worked at both and has been named in the reporting.

  7. Phil Johnson says:

    The pervert collar has appeared in court in Scotland on 15 Feb, 2020. Good riddance from Canada.

    The priest, who walked with the aid of a zimmer frame, made no plea to a total of 18 charges when he appeared on petition yesterday before Sheriff David Sutherland.

    He was represented by Inverness solicitor John McColl, who made no application for bail and Mackenzie was remanded to Porterfield Prison.

    The priest had been flown to London from Canada and then on to Inverness on Thursday and Friday.

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