HALIFAX – A former RCMP officer who testified last week that he was ordered to stop investigating an alleged sexual assault in Halifax is having his account questioned today during cross-examination.
Jerell Smith has told the Nova Scotia Police Review Board that he was assigned to Carrie Low’s rape case but was immediately told to close the file by a staff sergeant who doubted her story.
Low filed a complaintalleging police officers mishandled the investigation after she reported being driven to a house in the Halifax area and raped by at least two men overnight on May 18, 2018.
Ted Murphy, the lawyer for the Halifax Regional Municipality, questioned whether Smith properly reviewed the file when he received it and asked him why he didn’t promptly collect Low’s clothing as evidence after she told him it was at her parents’ home.
Smith repeated that he was told by a staff sergeant on the joint RCMP-Halifax Regional Police sex assault unit that he should “close” the file.
Low’s complaint is against the Halifax police and Const. Bojan Novakovic, who was the first officer to interview her.
She has appealed the discipline of Novakovic, who was docked eight hours pay for his handling of her case, and Low is also seeking broader recommendations to improve the police department’s handling of sexual assault cases.
In a separate process, an internal RCMP investigation faulted Smith for misconduct for failing to collect Low’s clothing and process tests for a date-rape drug when he was lead investigator.
The investigation found that Smith should receive training to avoid similar errors, but he never returned to work with the RCMP.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 17, 2023.