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

School District 27 (SD27) issued notice Thursday, Feb. 25 of a COVID-19 exposure at Mountview Elementary School. (Angie Mindus photo)
School district reports positive COVID-19 case in Williams Lake elementary school

A letter went home to families of Mountview Elementary School

The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
City of Williams Lake seeks feedback on hosting junior hockey league team

A league expansion application in Quesnel is also pending

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

LADDER USED IN FIRE FIGHT: While smoke billows out of the second floor of the Maple Leaf Hotel, members of the Williams Lake Volunteer Fire Department fight to contain the blaze. The department was called out Tuesday morning to battle the blaze that wreaked havoc on the interior of the 57-year-old hotel. One man, Harold Hurst of Riske Creek, died in the fire. (Ernest Engemoen photo - Williams Lake Tribune, April 12, 1977)
FROM OUR ARCHIVES: Ladder used in fire fight

The department was called out Tuesday morning to battle the blaze

Provincial funding in the amount of $300,000 has been announced for the Cariboo Regional District’s plans to improve the Anahim Lake Airport runway. (CRD photo)
$300,000 provincial funding to fuel Anahim Lake Airport runway upgrade

The recovery grant is one of 38 announced to support jobs in rural communities

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

Most Read