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

White Rock cadets nab medals at Vernon competition

Thirteen members of 907 Squadron compete at regional meet

Girls, women try their hand at marine rescue in Surrey

Achieve Anything Foundation, RCMSAR Crescent Beach host ‘Operation: This IS You! Saving Lives at Sea’

Surrey boy living with congenital heart disease to speak at local Tedx event

Mason Vander Ploeg will be speaking on saving the oceans

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

VIDEO: Giants winning streak ends at 11 after a 2-1 setback Saturday in Everett

Run of wins matched their longest ever regular season winning streak

Most Read