This week the B.C. Court of Appeal announced that the original trial judge erred in the criminal case of Gregory Stanley Nield and his 30-month sentence for aggravated assault should be set aside.
Nield was found guilty by a jury in April of 2017 of assaulting his psychiatrist, Dr. Rajeev Sheoran, while being treated under the Mental Health Act.
Court originally heard that Nield had been consuming hallucinogenic mushrooms, and that his wife took him to the family doctor on November 26, 2014.
He was experiencing auditory hallucinations, not sleeping and angry. Dr.Sheoran assessed Nield, who was prescribed medication.
On December 5th – more than four years ago – the attack occurred. According to the B.C. Court of Appeal, Sheoran’s “orbital bone was so badly fractured that he required a prosthetic implant. His right eyeball and optic nerve were damaged. He needed reconstructive dentistry and orthodontic treatment. He has suffered a traumatic brain injury and psychological and emotional problems.”
The B.C. Court of Appeal noted “the appellant’s conduct after the assault was bizarre. A nurse testified that she followed the appellant to a lounge. She testified he was extremely calm but concerned about his hand. “She observed him asking people if they wanted a hug. A police officer testified that while he was read his charter rights and later, when he was put in the cells, the appellant hummed and repeatedly introduced himself.”
After being arrested, Nield eventually went to trial and found guilty. Nield appealed the conviction.
The B.C. Court of Appeal wrote “the trial judge did err with regards to evidence that could have gone toward establishing the available defence of automatism. The judge failed to weigh the costs and benefits of receiving the treating physician’s opinion evidence.
“Further, the judge erred in not admitting relevant portions of the hospital record as prima facie proof of the facts recorded therein, including observations on the patient’s behaviour and the administration of drugs, after a witness attested to the record’s authenticity.”
In conclusion, the B.C. Court of Appeal said: “I would allow this appeal, set aside the conviction,,,,,”
No date has been set for a new trial.
Source: with files from Global BC