Retired Mountie says he doesn't remember accused in wrongful conviction case

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HALIFAX - The RCMP officer who oversaw the investigation of a statutory rape case in 1969 that led to the wrongful conviction of a Nova Scotia man says he doesn't remember the accused or taking a key statement from him.

Earl Hamilton, who retired in 1985, told the Nova Scotia Supreme Court he understood that his files dealing with Gerald Barton's case would have been kept at the detachment in Digby, N.S., but they were probably destroyed after five years.

Barton testified Monday that he never gave a statement to police and never pleaded guilty to the charge of having sex with a 14-year-old girl, who gave birth before Barton was sentenced to one year of probation.

Barton, now 64, is suing the provincial Crown for malicious prosecution and the RCMP for negligent investigation.

The unusual case has been complicated by the fact that some court documents have disappeared over the years, including records that would confirm whether Barton actually stood trial.

Court documents say it wasn't until 2008 that Barton's 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.

In January 2011, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal admitted the DNA evidence, quashed Barton's conviction and concluded he was the victim of a miscarriage of justice when he was 19 years old.

Organizations: RCMP, Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Geographic location: HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Digby

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