Regina v. Jatin Patel was heard in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Man accused of Surrey Safeway bum-pinching loses appeal

The case centred on an incident involving a 13-year-old girl in 2015

A man accused of pinching a young girl’s bottom in a Surrey grocery store has lost an appeal of his sexual touching conviction.

Jatin Patel denied the allegation, but the trial judge believed the girl’s version over his. There is a publication ban on evidence that could identify the victim.

The appeal was heard in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, with Justice Frits Verhoeven presiding.

“I am unable to conclude that the decision of the trial judge is unreasonable, or unsupported by or contradicted by the evidence, or clearly wrong,” Verhoeven decided. “No palpable and overring error has been shown.”

Verhoeven noted the case depended on the trial judge’s assessment of credibility.

“Substantial deference must be allowed on an appeal of this nature,” he stated in his reasons for judgment. “No legal error was suggested in argument and none has been identified. There is no basis upon which the verdict could be set aside. The appeal is dismissed.”

The case centred on a incident in a Safeway grocery store in Surrey in 2015.

The court heard the 13-year-old girl went with her mom and younger brother to buy ice cream and chocolate topping. She accused Patel of pinching her bottom in an aisle as he walked by.

The mom, who cannot be identified, testified Patel stood next to her, also looking at ice cream behind the glass freezer doors. She told her kids to step back and give him room to get his ice cream, but instead of stepping forward, she said, he looked at her and walked away.

She testifed Patel “seemed a little creepy.”

Later, the mom and kids were in the toppings aisle when Patel passed by and allegedly pinched or grabbed the girl’s right buttock. She told her mom, her mom confronted Patel and he walked away, denying he touched the girl but that if he did, it was accidental.

The mother testified that she thought he was staring at her daughter’s bottom when he entered the toppings aisle and watched him closely but didn’t see him stop or touch the girl.

After Patel passed by, she told the court, her daughter said “Mom, he just touched my butt.”

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“He just touched my butt,” she replied.

“Maybe he brushed you, maybe he accidentally bumped you.”

“No,” the girl said, and demonstrated a grab or squeeze with her hand.

The girl told the court “we were looking for a topping for our ice cream and that is when I felt him pinch my butt for about five seconds.”

The mom said she twice asked Patel “Hey, did you just touch my daughter” and he denied it both times. She complained to the store manager and police arrested Patel at the store.

One of the officers who arrested him, Constable Maharaj, testified that while he was booking Patel the accused told him “I know how to beat this charge, it’s called psychosis.”

Patel testified he was legitimately shopping, denied having stared at the girl’s bottom and making any contact with her at all. He also denied the officer’s claim, saying he might have said something to the effect that “she [is] psychotic.”

The judge who convicted Patel believed the girl, calling her an “impressive witness,” and rejected Patel’s version. At appeal, Patel argued the girl had lied, the judge shouldn’t have believed her and should have acquitted him on a reasonable doubt.

tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Just Posted

COLUMN: Technology gives me hope my father will walk again

Lokomat taught Michael Coss to walk again after brain injury – and you could help bring it to Surrey

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Decision to opt out of Operation Red Nose made last spring, says Langley Gymnastics

ORN drivers in neighbouring communities will fill Langley/Surrey gaps as best they can

Curling competition cutting close ahead of BC Junior Curling Championships

Qualifiers for December’s championships come down to the decimal point

Feds will spend $327.6 million a year to fight guns and gangs

Funding announcement in Surrey also includes $10 million for emergency opioid funding in B.C.

VIDEO: Two years in review with Cloverdale-Langley City MP

John Aldag sits down to talk about heritage, economics

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Christmas movie ‘classics’ at renovated Clova in December

By-donation events hosted by building owner Crossridge Church

Delta-Richmond Operation Red Nose kicks off with call for volunteers

ORN uses volunteers to provide motorists who have been drinking a free ride home — in their own cars

Riverview youth mental health centre proceeds

Replacement for Maples Treatment Centre first announced in March

Overnight lane closures at Highway 91 and 72nd Avenue

Left turn lanes off of the highway onto 72nd eastbound will be closed to install drainage culverts

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Most Read