Scottish prosecutors dismiss case against retired priest extradited from Canada

The Globe and Mail [Toronto, Canada]

November 28, 2021

By The Canadian Press

Prosecutors in Scotland have dismissed a case against a retired Catholic priest who was extradited to the United Kingdom from Saskatchewan to face decades-old abuse charges.

Scotland’s prosecution service says in a statement that after careful consideration of the case against Robert Mackenzie, Crown Counsel has concluded there should be no further proceedings.

Mackenzie was living in Saskatchewan when he was returned to Scotland in February 2020 after losing an appeal of the extradition order, and the prosecution service says he was granted bail in March of this year.

Prosecutors say he was accused of offences alleged to have taken place at the Fort Augustus school in the Scottish Highlands from 1955 to 1988.

The Regina archdiocese said when it revealed the allegations against Mackenzie that they were physical and sexual in nature, but that no allegations had surfaced from his time serving with the archdiocese.

Mackenzie maintained his innocence during his extradition hearing.

The statement from the prosecution service said that Crown Counsel are Scotland’s “most senior prosecutors.” It said that it would not be appropriate to provide further details of a decision not to prosecute in order to respect the rights of those involved in the case.

“In any case, careful consideration is given to reports of alleged criminality, and proceedings are raised when prosecutors conclude there is sufficient admissible evidence and it is in the public interest to do so,” the statement said.

“However, the Crown has a duty to keep cases under review in light of changing circumstances and, after careful consideration of this case, Crown Counsel has now concluded there should be no further proceedings.”

A church deacon in Regina previously said Mackenzie joined the archdiocese in 1988 and retired in the early 2000s.

Scottish prosecutors said the allegations against Mackenzie were reported to them in 2013. The extradition proceedings began in 2016.