The BC Court of Appeal has granted a former Fort St James volunteer fire chief a new trial.
In April 2015, BC Supreme Court Justice Glen Parrett sentenced the fire chief to nine months in jail and two years probation for sexually assaulting three female volunteers over several years.
However a three judge panel with the BC Court of Appeal sided with the fire chief’s lawyers, who argued that Justice Parrett’s conduct made it appear his“mind was made up prematurely”
The appeal application also argued that the judge mishandled on of the Crown’s key witness.
“In my opinion, a reasonable observer would conclude that this conduct was not reasonably indicative of an open mind, whether or not the judge actually had an open mind.” The Appeal Court’s decision reads
“Coming as and when it did, that direction coupled with the judge’s examination of the witness resulted in a reasonable apprehension of trial unfairness that, in my opinion, requires a new trial.”
The accused has now been granted bail, pending a new trail.
A new publication ban on the case has been ordered.