Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Carrie Low talks to media outside court in Halifax on Sept. 16, 2019.

Michael Tutton/The Canadian Press

A 43-year-old Nova Scotia woman who says she experienced a nightmarish sexual assault is taking legal steps to compel a review of her complaint that municipal police badly mishandled her case.

Carrie Low says that after she was taken in a car, driven to a site outside Halifax and assaulted last year, police didn’t visit the scene where she alleges the crime occurred, missing an initial chance to secure evidence.

“I had indicated (to police) that my underwear and one shoe was missing that morning,” she said in court documents.

Story continues below advertisement

Following a Nova Scotia Supreme Court hearing on Monday, Low also said she underwent a forensic examination the day after the May 2018 assault, spoke to an officer at the hospital and had her clothing placed in an evidence bag, but her clothing wasn’t picked up as potential evidence for 10 days.

“I was fighting this on my own, making inquiries, making phone calls, asking to speak to supervisors. I was asking, ‘Why aren’t my clothes getting picked up?’ … Ten days later I finally got to talk to a supervisor and my clothes were picked up,” she recalled.

Low said she only found out in September 2018 that her clothing wasn’t sent for processing, and investigators told her that it could no longer be used as evidence due to the delays.

Halifax police issued a statement Monday saying “concerns of this nature” are treated very seriously.

“As the investigation is currently ongoing, we are not in a position to discuss specifics,” the statement said. “However, we can confirm that an internal review is being conducted to look into the exact circumstances at the direction of the chief of police. The intent is to examine our response to the criminal complaint, and review the steps taken, the timeline of these steps and whether things could have been done differently.”

Low has said she blacked out through much of the incident but has had brief and painful recollections of waking to being assaulted. She said she was able to identify the location.

She said she also believes she was drugged while she was having a drink at a neighbourhood pub, but evidence to confirm details of what was in her blood wasn’t immediately sent to a lab for processing.

Story continues below advertisement

Her affidavit to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court says the toxicology report had not been conducted “as of one year following the sexual assault,” and Low said she was told in July that investigators were still waiting for results of the toxicology tests.

Earlier this summer, Low received a letter from Nova Scotia’s office of the police complaints commissioner notifying her that her case wouldn’t be reviewed because it wasn’t made within a six-month time limit.

Lawyers with the Elizabeth Fry Society are now attempting to have that decision reversed and for her complaint to be processed, and court dates were set aside Monday to hear the case in Nova Scotia Supreme Court beginning March 3, 2020.

Low told reporters outside court that six months is too short a deadline for an emotionally distraught survivor of a sexual assault to realize they may have been treated improperly by police – and to lodge a complaint.

“The first six months after an assault is very traumatic … The first six months I wasn’t eating, I was losing my hair,” she said. “I finally got diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and at times wasn’t sleeping for three straight days.”

Regulation 29 of the province’s Police Act states: “If a complaint is made more than six months after the date of the occurrence that gave rise to the complaint, the complaint must not be processed.”

Story continues below advertisement

In her letters refusing the case, Judith McPhee, the police complaints commissioner, says the complaint against the constable Low first encountered in May 2018 was an event that occurred “beyond the six-month time limit” and she has “no authority” to extend the limit.

However, Jessica Rose, the lawyer working with the Elizabeth Fry Society on the case, said McPhee incorrectly based her decision on the idea only a single officer was involved in Low’s complaint, “rather than unknown officers and the police department generally.”

Rose said her group will also argue that under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Nova Scotia regulation should be struck down as unconstitutional.

Mark Furey, Nova Scotia’s minister of justice, said in an email that he’s familiar with Low’s case and aware of the statute of limitations.

“This is something we are looking at,” he said in a statement. “The Department of Justice regularly reviews legislation and regulations to ensure they meet the needs of Nova Scotians.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies