Nova Scotia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Nova Scotia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Mistaken identity: Porn allegation dropped against Nova Scotia doctor after mix-up

Halifax police have blamed unnamed ‘partner’ agencies

In a bizarre case of mistaken identity, Halifax police blamed unnamed “partner” agencies Tuesday for providing erroneous information that led to the arrest of a local doctor who was wrongly accused of possessing child pornography.

“(Police) acted swiftly and in good faith as soon as the new information came to light,” Halifax Regional Police said in a statement Tuesday. “We recognize and regret the deeply negative impact of an unfortunate error of this nature.”

The police force said it received information from two agencies — one Canadian and one American — and its Internet Child Exploitation team executed a search warrant on Dec. 2.

Const. John MacLeod, a spokesman for Halifax police, declined to name the agencies.

Police confirmed a man was arrested, but he was not formally charged. He was released from custody on a standard undertaking to abide certain conditions.

On Jan. 22, one of the agencies involved in the case alerted investigators in Halifax that a mistake had been made about the identity of the accused, though no details were released Tuesday.

The governing body for Nova Scotia doctors confirmed police had wrongly accused Dr. David Barnett, a family doctor who works in Cole Harbour, a suburb east of Halifax. Barnett could not be reached for comment.

Dr. Gus Grant, the college’s CEO, said the Crown on Monday confirmed police had mistaken Barnett for someone with a similar nameand email address in Ohio, who has been arrested. The allegation against Barnett was dismissed in Halifax provincial court on Monday, he said.

“It’s a remarkably disturbing story,” Grant said in an interview Tuesday.

“I feel terribly sorry that this has happened to Dr. Barnett. As a college, we will do what we can to restore his good name in the profession and in the eyes of the public.”

The CEO said there is no evidence connecting the doctor with the alleged crime. When the college learned about the mix-up, it immediately convened a committee to remove an interim suspension imposed on Barnett in early December.

Grant stressed the college did not take any disciplinary action against Barnett. The interim suspension was required to ensure the safety of the public and the integrity of the medical profession, but this measure will not become part of the college’s record, he said.

“Dr. Barnett has been a victim of mistaken identity,” Grant said. “His name is entirely clear, as it should be.”

Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read