New trial ordered for Prince George man convicted of sex charge

Appeal ruling says Paul Veeken’s conviction to be set aside after trial judge failed to instruct jury

A new trial has been ordered for a 45-year-old Prince George, B.C., man convicted of sexually interfering with a person under 16 years of age.

In a unanimous ruling, a three-member panel of the B.C. Court of Appeal says Paul Veeken’s 2015 conviction should be set aside because the trial judge failed to properly instruct the jury.

Veeken was sentenced to two years in jail and a year probation for sexually touching a pre-teen girl, although the defence argued the girl had been coached by her parents to say the touching was sexual in nature when it was just innocent tickling.

The Court of Appeal justices found a statement made in court by the girl’s mother could have had the effect of tainting the minds of jury.

“The prejudice to Mr. Veeken arising from what R.’s mother said is obvious,” the written court decision reads.

At the 2015 trial, the Crown asked B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elliot Myers to address the mother’s evidence in his charge to the jury, but the high court says the judge simply told jurors to ignore the mother’s statements and didn’t explain why.

The Court of Appeal ruling posted online on Friday notes Veeken raises several grounds for appeal, but the judge’s failure to address the statements of the mother are enough to force a new trial.

“The jury should have been instructed that what R.’s mother said she was told (about Veeken) was hearsay and was not proof of the truth of what she had been told,” says Justice David Frankel.

“More importantly, the jury should have been specifically instructed that it must not rely on that evidence to conclude Mr. Veeken was a person of bad character who was, therefore, more likely to have committed the offence against R.”

A date for a new trial has not yet been set.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Granisle receives $4.3 million funding for Wastewater Treatment plant upgrade

The village will finally get to upgrade the 49 years old plant

Spirit North Burns Lake conducting canoe, paddle board camp for indigenous kids

Rachelle van Zanten, the Community Program Director for the Burns Lake area… Continue reading

Chinook Community Forest holds open house and BBQ in Burns Lake

Chinook Community Forest held their annual open house and BBQ at the… Continue reading

Burns Lake’s much awaited Splash Park almost ready

The Radley Beach Splash Park is 95 per cent ready. According to… Continue reading

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Penticton homes evacuated due to wildfire northwest of city

Emergency vehicles are at the scene near Sage Mesa, evacuation centre set up in Penticton

British Columbians worried as end of COVID-19 rental supplement looms

Single mom struggles as supplement was her saving grace

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Kootenay town

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

Three screening officers at Vancouver airport test positive for COVID-19

The public is not believed to be at risk of exposure

VIDEO: B.C. conservation officers free not-so-wily coyote with head stuck in jar

Poor pup was found with a glass jar stuck on its head in Maple Ridge

Most Read