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

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Directional traffic change coming to one-way street beside McLeod Elementary

This change will be in effect starting Monday, Oct. 5.

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

CityWest to expand into Vanderhoof

The company will provide internet, TV and phone services over fibre-to-the-home technology

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Lumber hitting record high prices due to low supply and high demand

B.C.’s forest industry hasn’t been able to keep pace with the COVID-19 building boom

‘Monkey Beach’ supernatural film adaptation premiers at VIFF

Based on Kitamaat author Eden Robinson’s debut, mystical novel

B.C.-born Trybe social media app’s award system connects with Nickelback singer

Rock stars, jet planes, scooter tricks and the creation of a new platform ready for launch

Most Read