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

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

Missing North Delta senior found deceased

88-year-old Jarnial Sanghera had been missing since the morning of Friday, May 15

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Dry-grad cancelled, Elgin Park students make donation to food bank

Students donate $1,800 to food bank after being forced to cancel graduation event

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read