In June 2017, Crown prosecutor Catherine Cogswell had to tell another young woman that she wouldn't get justice.
The man accused of raping her at the Westin Hotel earlier that year hadn't showed up for his preliminary inquiry on a charge of sexual assault and it was believed he had fled back to China.
"I remember it," Cogswell told The Chronicle Herald.
"It was painful."
It was the second time she'd had to tell a victim.
In 2007 she had to explain to two victims - one of whom was under 14 years old - that Taher Ali Al-Saba had fled Canada, presumably to Saudi Arabia. The then 19-year-old who was in Halifax for an English course had been charged with sexual assault and sexual interference by touching.
The Chronicle Herald has spoken with victims in both cases and heard that the trauma didn't go away with the alleged perpetrators.
"I went from having this small speck of hope that I was going to see justice to finding that out, and it was crushing for me," the alleged victim of Ertai Lu, a Chinese national who managed to graduate from St. Mary's University before fleeing the country, told The Chronicle Herald in March.
"For him to slip away is, like, why did I put all that work in?"
It had taken 13 hours for her to have a rape kit completed.
A LinkedIn account for a man named Ertai Lu, from China's Wuhan province like the accused and who graduated from St. Mary's at the same time, states that he lives in Hong Kong.
And Canada has an extradition treaty with Hong Kong.
The Saudi Arabian embassy confirmed to the Crown in 2007 that Taher Ali Al-Saba was back in their country.
Then there's Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi, who didn't show for a court appearance last fall on charges of sexual assault, assault, forcible confinement, uttering threats, criminal harassment, dangerous driving and assault with a weapon (a vehicle) in separate trials related to two incidents that occurred in Sydney between 2016 and 2017.
The Crown told The Chronicle Herald in January that the embassy had paid his $37,500 bail, though the Public Prosecution Service is no longer willing to confirm it.
Asked whether he was in Canada during a FaceTime chat with The Chronicle Herald in January, Alzoabi said, "probably not."
His LinkedIn account states that, armed with a Cape Breton University degree, he is now a human resources professional in Saudi Arabia.
In all three cases local police had the accused's passports and according to immigration lawyer Lee Cohen it would have been "virtually impossible" for them to flee without their embassies providing them with travel documents.
And we know from a Freedom of Information request that despite intense media pressure, Global Affairs Canada refused to even contact the Saudi Arabian embassy to ask if it had violated the sovereignty of Canadian courts by furnishing Alzoabi with travel documents or even ask for his return.
The cases raise the question of whether Canadian law applies to foreign nationals if they leave the country?
"One country interfering in another country's administration of criminal justice breaches state sovereignty in a profound way," said Robert Currie, a professor at Dalhousie University's Schulich School of Law who specializes in extradition and international law.
"The thing with international law is it's intermingled with international diplomacy."
International relations with Saudi Arabia were already on the rocks by the time Alzoabi didn't show up for a court appearance last November.
In August Foreign Affairs minister Chrystia Freeland had tweeted a call for Saudi Arabia to release female activists arrested in that country. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud responded by kicking out our diplomats and demanding its students in Canada return to Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile the federal government was reviewing a $15 billion deal between General Dynamics Land Systems Canada and the kingdom to sell Saudi Arabia light armoured vehicles. The construction of those vehicles at its plant in London, Ont., and export to Saudi Arabia has continued despite the discovery that Canadian- made military equipment has been used in its brutal proxy war in neighbouring Yemen and outrage over the country's assassination and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at its embassy in Turkey.
Against the backdrop of these broad issues is the fate of a young woman in Sydney who Alzoabi is accused of sexually assaulting, harassing and forcibly confining, as well as a young man he is accused of running over with a car outside a bar.
But to not even make a phone call on behalf of the victims or the Canadian justice system angers Currie.
"Are we giving more balance to our trade relationship with Saudi Arabia in this age of Me Too than we're giving to sexual assault victims?" said Currie.
While Alzoabi's case came at a time of international turmoil, Al-Saba fled 12 years ago and Lu fled two years ago - well before Canada's relationship with China was thrown in the blender by the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou for extradition to the United States.
"Due to the confidential nature of state to state communications, the government can neither confirm nor deny whether an extradition request has been made related to an individual," Global Affairs spokeswoman Angela Savard said Thursday in response to a Chronicle Herald request.
"It should be noted that the minister of justice may only seek extradition from another state or jurisdiction at the request of the competent authority who is responsible for the prosecution in Canada. In the cases below, the competent authority is the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service."
But the question we'd asked was whether her department had made "any attempts" to seek the return of the three accused from Saudi Arabia or China - that would include just calling or writing the relevant embassies.
"You would begin the task of trying to locate the person starting with the embassy and your counterpart in the country of origin," said Peter MacKay, a former Nova Scotian Crown prosecutor who served in the Harper cabinet as both minister of foreign affairs and justice.
"You'd say ‘look, this person is wanted in our country for criminal acts and we would like to have him sent back.'"
Nova Scotia successfully had an Interpol warrant issued for the arrest of Al-Saba, which in theory could cause him to be arrested if he travels outside Saudi Arabia. The Public Prosecution Service along with police in Halifax and Sydney are also in the process of having warrants issued for Lu and Alzoabi.
Neither the embassies of Saudi Arabia nor China have responded to questions from The Chronicle Herald.
"It's not an excuse," said Mac-Kay, "but there are ample examples of where these cases slip through the cracks unless someone lights a fire under these issues, whether it's that a victim goes public, the media or maybe someone in the embassy is forward leaning."