HALIFAX – Nova Scotia P-C leader Jamie Baillie is calling on the McNeil government to review both federal and provincial sexual assault laws after two recent court cases.
Mitchell Leeander Goodwin was sentenced last week to serve 90 days on weekends after a violent sexual assault in 2012 and, in a separate case, Joshua-Douglas Everette Jackson was acquitted of sexually assaulting an Acadia student in 2014.
“It’s not right,” Baillie told reporters Thursday morning. “I firmly believe that we need to review all the laws in this area, and make sure that when people do work up the courage to come forward in our justice system that they know they’ll be kept safe, and that they know justice will actually be done.”
Premier Stephen McNeil called the results of the two cases alarming, and is calling on Ottawa to look at the criminal code and its sexual assault laws, but emphasized that those laws are under federal jurisdiction.
“What our role is and what we’re trying to do and will continue to do is making sure that we provide supports for victims,” explained McNeil, ” — So that we can help people get well again and be able to move forward with their lives.”
Baillie, however, said Nova Scotia’s government shouldn’t wait around for Ottawa to review the criminal code, but should do it themselves and then lobby the Feds to make any changes necessary.
The PC leader also believes some provincial laws on sexual assault require some attention, like the Victims Bill of Rights.
“Is it strong enough to protect women that come forward, or men or any victims of such serious crimes? These are the things that I think we now are compelled to ask ourselves.”