Accused in high-profile Nova Scotia rape case is found murdered
Alexander Joseph Frederick Thomas was scheduled to appear in court this week on the rape charge
The accused in a high-profile rape case in Nova Scotia was found murdered in a home in Dartmouth N.S. on the weekend and the charges against him were formally dismissed in a provincial court today.
Alexander Joseph Frederick Thomas, 35, was accused of the 2018 rape and forcible confinement of Carrie Low. The case was highly publicized, and made into a CBC podcast, because of Low’s complaints against the RCMP and Halifax Regional Police for their mishandling of the case.
Low had applied to have a publication ban on her name lifted, which was granted last month by a provincial court judge.
Thomas was to appear in court at pre-trial hearings today. Early on Saturday morning, Halifax Regional Police responded to a report of an unresponsive man at a townhouse in Dartmouth. Thomas was found dead when officers arrived and following an autopsy was identified as the victim of a homicide.
On Tuesday, the Crown prosecutor said he would not be providing any evidence against Thomas and the charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement were dismissed.
“The court dismissed the two charges that were before the court at this point in time and as a result these matters are at an end in provincial court,” said Judge Ted Tax.
The judge said it was a “truly unfortunate way to end a case,” where no one gets to determine guilt or innocence.
In this case, both the victim and the accused allege police mishandling of the case.
In May, 2018, Low had reported to police that she had been drugged, taken from a bar in Dartmouth and sexually assaulted at another location.
After a year of inactivity on the case, Low filed complaints against the police in 2019. The complaint against the Halifax Police was initially rejected by the Nova Scotia Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner because the timeline had expired.
Low appealed to the Supreme Court for a judicial review of the commissioner’s decision, which was set aside and sent back to the commissioner for further review. Low is also suing the Halifax police and RCMP.
She tells her story of the rape and police mishandling on the CBC podcast Carrie Low VS , which debuted in October.
In February 2020, Thomas was charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement of Low, two years after the alleged crime took place.
Thomas also made allegations of police impropriety and an unfair trial, arguments that were expected to be heard in court at the pre-trial hearings.
“Mr. Thomas didn’t have his day in trial,” Mark Bailey, his lawyer, told local media. “Ms. Low loses out, she didn’t get to have her day in court. It’s just an unfortunate result for everybody involved.”
Emma Halpern, a lawyer with the Elizabeth Fry Society who has represented Low, told The Canadian Press she had hoped to hear evidence about police conduct in the case at the court hearings.
Halpern said in a news release Sunday that Low was shaken by news that Thomas had died.
“Her sympathies go out to his family and community. She is also concerned about the impact this may have on her quest for justice in her case,” the statement said.
With additional reporting by The Canadian Press