Man found guilty of beating Penticton psychiatrist successfully appeals conviction | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Man found guilty of beating Penticton psychiatrist successfully appeals conviction

FILE PHOTO - Gregory Stanley Nield is led out of Penticton courthouse following his arrest on aggravated assault charges following an incident in which he is alleged to have attacked a Penticton psychiatrist at Penticton Regional Hospital on Dec. 5, 2014. A recent ruling by the B.C. Court of Appeal has overturned Nield's conviction for aggravated assault of a Penticton Regional Hospital psychiatrist.

PENTICTON - The Summerland man found guilty of badly beating a psychiatrist at Penticton Regional Hospital has won a new trial.

The B.C. Court of Appeal has awarded a new trial for Gregory Stanley Nield who was found guilty of aggravated assault by a jury following the Dec. 5, 2014 assault on Penticton Regional Hospital psychiatrist Dr. Rajeev Sheoran after being admitted to the hospital’s psychiatric ward.

Sheoran suffered a badly fractured orbital bone requiring a prosthetic implant. His right eyeball and optic nerve were damaged, he required constructive dentistry and orthodontic treatment as well as suffering a traumatic brain injury.

The Honourable Justice Frankel, Madam Justice D. Smith and Mr. Justice Willcock ruled on Nield’s appeal, which was raised on the basis the trial judge erred during a voir dire hearing and during the trial by jury in admitting evidence in breach of his Charter rights and in restricting his ability to lead evidence that could have gone toward establishing the available defence of automatisim. Automatism is described as a mental condition criminal defence can be seen as a lack of voluntariness, culpability or excuse on the part of the individual.

The judges ruled in favour of an appeal, noting the trial judge did not err in how the voir dire was conducted, but did err in regards to evidence that could establish an automatism defence. The judges further ruled the trial judge failed to weigh the costs and benefits of receiving the treating physician’s opinion evidence, in addition to not admitting relevant portions of the hospital record.

The judges found a possible automatism defence by Nield could not be established as "bound to fail," concluding his right to mount such a defence.

Additionally, the judges found the refusal to allow opinion evidence by Dr. Sheoran and the inclusion of hospital records as factors in setting aside Nield’s conviction in favour of ordering a new trial.

The decision was handed down in Vancouver on Jan. 30.

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