An international manhunt for a fugitive, accused of sexually assaulting boys in the Brandon area during the 1980s, has ended in Spain with his arrest.
The process is now underway to extradite 49-year-old Iain Kenneth Smy, who is currently housed in a Madrid jail.
Smy was tracked down with the help of a joint Winnipeg Police Service and RCMP unit dedicated to tracking down accused who are wanted on arrest warrants. Brandon police turned to the unit when they learned that Smy had fled the country.
"As a result of the efforts of Brandon police and members of this particular unit, we were able to locate him relatively quickly," WPS Const. Jason Michalyshen said.
In October 2009, city police reported that a former Brandon resident had been arrested in Sarnia, Ont., in connection with sexual assaults allegedly committed against three 11- to 15-year-old boys in the 1980s.
The man was in a position of authority with at least two local youth groups at the time of the offences which were committed during group outings, police alleged.
Police have never identified the groups involved, but on Thursday, Crown attorney Joanne Maynard, who is prosecuting the case, said that Smy once held a position with cadets of some sort.
Smy is charged with nine counts of sexual assault.
Six date from between Sept. 1, 1986, and Nov. 27, 1988, with two allegedly committed at CFB Shilo and four in Brandon. Another three offences are alleged to have been committed earlier at CFB Shilo, between Jan. 1, 1984, and Dec. 31, 1985.
Smy was released on bail with the consent of a Brandon Crown attorney in November 2009.
According to Sarnia police, Smy’s bail conditions required him to live in that city, but in January 2011 officers couldn’t find him at his home.
As a result, he was charged with breaching bail by failing to reside where directed.
He’s also charged with three counts of breaching his bail by having unsupervised contact with a youth under 16 years old during three separate time spans in Sarnia between March 19, 2010, and June 30, 2010. All of those charges relate to the same youth.
Sarnia police also obtained a warrant and Smy is still wanted in relation to those offences.
He was then supposed to attend court in Brandon on July 15, 2010, on the original sexual assault charges, but he didn’t show up and a Canada-wide warrant was issued.
That day, his lawyer, Bob Harrison, told court that he’d expected Smy to travel to Brandon from Ontario as the case had been resolved.
Brandon police issued a public appeal for information about Smy’s whereabouts and Brandon Police Service Const. Ron Burgess said they got a tip.
"We did get some information (that indicated) that he may be in Spain," Burgess said.
As a result, the BPS recently turned to the Manitoba Integrated Warrant Apprehension Unit, which is made up of members of the WPS and RCMP.
Investigators from that unit confirmed that Smy had left Canada and fled to Europe.
"We were able to confirm that he had travelled out of the country and even confirmed some of his travels throughout Europe," Michalyshen said.
Working with Interpol and other European police forces such as London’s Metropolitan Police Service and Ireland’s national police, investigators tracked Smy’s journey.
Michalyshen said Smy was required to surrender his Canadian passport when he was released on bail, but he has family in Britain and was able to obtain a British passport while he was still in Canada.
It’s believed he left Canada sometime in May 2010.
From there, it’s believed that he may have travelled to South America and England before heading to Spain, Michalyshen said.
Ultimately, on Monday, Spanish National Police arrested Smy at a home in Malaga, Spain where it’s believed he was living. He’s currently being held in a Madrid remand facility. Maynard understands that the accused has a relative who lives in Spain.
Maynard said final extradition documents have to be submitted within 60 days. However, Michalyshen said Smy can appeal his extradition which may delay his return to Canada.
If and when he’s returned to Canada, he’s to be brought to Manitoba to answer to the sexual assault charges.
On Thursday, Harrison said he has been contacted by Smy’s family but hasn’t heard from Smy himself and he didn’t know details of how he arrived in Spain.
The Manitoba Integrated Warrant Apprehension Unit has made more than 450 arrests since it was formed in September 2011.
» email@example.com, with a file from the Winnipeg Free Press
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 4, 2012