Nanaimo junior hockey player found not guilty of sex assault

Nanaimo junior hockey player found not guilty of sex assault

A junior hockey player from Nanaimo who was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl has been found not guilty of the charge.

Kenneth Boychuk, now 19, was accused of sexually assaulting the girl – who can’t be identified due to a publication ban – at her home in January 2023.

A six-day trial wrapped up earlier this month, where the girl testified that the pair had met over a dating app, before Boychuk arrived at her home unannounced and uninvited.

She told the court that he slapped and punched her and that she did not consent to any sexual activity.

Meanwhile, Boychuk’s lawyer, Rory Ziv, argued that the girl’s testimony had many inconsistencies, including the source of injuries, such as bruising – as well as initially testifying that she had blacked out, then during cross-examination saying she hadn’t – and that she had admitted to lying to the boy’s hockey coach saying she had filed a police complaint when she hadn’t yet.

The not guilty verdict was delivered Thursday. BC Supreme Court Justice Douglas Thompson stated in his reasoning that the complainant’s account of the attack left him with doubts.

“The physical evidence does not measure up…” to the complainant’s account of a “savage non-consensual assault,” stated Thompson.

But he also stated: “I am not making a positive finding that the sexual assault did not happen. The evidence leads me to significant uncertainty.”

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Deborah Hollins, Executive Director at the Nanaimo Family Life Association, told CHEK News that the court system needs to change the way that it handles sexual assault cases.

“The rate of conviction is minimal. It is minimal, so the burden on the victim to have to prove that she was assaulted is egregious, and nearly impossible,” said Hollins.

Boychuk’s lawyer says he’s happy with the decision, and that the trial is over.

“Number one, I’m extremely relieved – relieved for my client,” he told CHEK News. “This has been a battle, it’s been an ordeal, it’s been stressful, an 18-year-old kid charged with a crime he didn’t commit.”

Ziv added that Boychuk changed hockey teams part way through the season due to the trial.

Boychuk played for the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s Nanaimo Buccaneers at the time of the complaint.

He was traded to the Kerry Park Islanders in Mill Bay in January of this year, and the team was aware of the allegations.

“I can think of three things in life that are bad: Death, disease, and being wrongfully charged with a crime, and he had to endure that,” said Ziv.

“I really just want to take the time to thank the judge in this case,” he added. “The justice in Nanaimo really took his time, not only with the decision but during the trial. He was very patient with both parties, he listened to arguments, he considered everyone’s points fairly, and it was really a pleasure to work with a judge like that.”

With files from CHEK’s Skye Ryan, Kendall Hanson and Adam Chan



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