Charges laid in high-profile rape case following accusations of police negligence

A man has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement connected to a high-profile rape case that’s been the centre of allegations that Halifax police systemically mishandled the investigation.

The arrest comes after Carrie Low detailed to CBC News in September how she says she was abducted outside a Dartmouth, N.S., bar in May 2018 and raped by two men. She reported it to police, but what followed were months of delays, miscommunication and paperwork problems.

Halifax’s police chief subsequently ordered a review, and last month Low filed a lawsuit over the handling of the case.

On Thursday, Halifax Regional Police announced they had charged a 33-year-old East Preston man in relation to the case. He was arrested Wednesday afternoon, released on conditions and will appear in Dartmouth provincial court at a later date.

Police have not released the name of the man. 

The lawsuit Low launched in January seeks damages against the Halifax Regional Municipality and the federal government. It accuses Halifax Regional Police and RCMP of negligence, “reckless indifference” and intentionally inflicting mental suffering.

Low’s legal team said an officer who once led the investigation into her case has come forward with what they believe is damning new evidence. The woman’s lawyers said the officer tried to investigate her case only to be told to shut down the probe, and was then moved out of the sexual assault investigation team.

None of the allegations have been proven.

Carrie Low speaks to the media outside of Nova Scotia Supreme Court following a hearing in September. (Robert Short/CBC)

Halifax Regional Police said Thursday in a statement the investigation of the case remains open.

Police have said Chief Dan Kinsella identified the sexual assault and homicide units as “priority areas” in an organizational review. Police are proposing a budget that seeks more resources for the criminal investigations division, which includes the units.

The sexual assault unit has been assigned a new Halifax Regional Police senior manager, and two new investigators have also been recently assigned to the unit “to address overall workload issues,” the statement said.

In January, Low said she continues to struggle with the trauma of the assault and her experience with police. 

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