Nanaimo trial wraps up for junior hockey player charged with sex assault

Nanaimo trial wraps up for junior hockey player charged with sex assault
Kenneth Boychuk is pictured walking to court in Nanaimo on May 28, 2024.

Editor’s note: This story may be disturbing for some readers.

The BC Supreme Court trial has wrapped up at the Nanaimo courthouse in the case of a junior hockey player accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

It happened at the girl’s home, and it’s alleged the pair had never met in person before.

The court heard final submissions Tuesday from Crown counsel and the lawyer for the accused.

Junior hockey player Kenneth Boychuk, who’s now 19 years old, is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl, who can’t be identified due to a publication ban, in January 2023.

During the six-day trial that began last week, the girl testified that Boychuk, whom she connected with on a dating app, came to her home unannounced and uninvited. She says she’d been communicating with him through Snapchat and had told him she was home alone.

She testified he slapped and punched her to the point that she felt she couldn’t move and was left with bruising. She says she did not consent to any of the sexual activity.

After what happened, she testified she felt she couldn’t sleep in her bedroom and instead slept on the bathroom floor that night.

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In her final arguments, Crown counsel’s Tania Holland argued the girl had no reason to fabricate what happened and that she was a credible and reliable witness.

Holland says she described what happened in a lot of detail and that her sister, who saw her shortly after, testified she saw the bruising and injuries after the assault. Her friend also testified the girl was bawling when she told her what happened, and she also saw the injuries.

The Crown says the entirety of the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Boychuk sexually assaulted the girl.

Boychuk’s lawyer, Rory Ziv, didn’t call any witnesses but argued the girl’s testimony was full of inconsistencies, such as the source of all her injuries, saying she lied to the judge numerous times. He pointed out she admitted to lying to the hockey team’s coach, saying she had filed a complaint with police when she hadn’t yet.

He says she initially testified she blacked out but, during the cross-examination, admitted she hadn’t. Ziv also pointed out that right after the incident, the girl took a picture of Boychuk in his shorts, which shows autonomy.

“You have two young people that…probably hadn’t developed the type of trust that they needed to have the relationship they decided to pursue, but there was no crime here, and the Crown hasn’t discharged the very high burden of proof where you can say you are sure,” said Ziv.

Boychuk, from Edmonton, Alta., was playing with the Nanaimo Buccaneers hockey team in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) at the time.

BC Supreme Court Justice Douglas Thompson is scheduled to deliver his verdict later this month.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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