There will not be a second trial for the man accused of the 2014 violent beating of a psychiatrist at Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH).
Dan McLaughlin, communications counsel for the BC Prosecution Service, confirmed this week that charges against Gregory Nield, now 34, have been dropped.
“The decision to stay the charges in this case was made after further information was received by the prosecutor with conduct of the file,” said McLaughlin. “After considering this information and the rest of the file materials the prosecutor concluded the charge approval standard could no longer be met.
“In these circumstances a stay of proceedings is the appropriate course of action.”
Originally found guilty of the assault of Dr. Rajeev Sheoran in April 2017, the B.C. Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Nield in January 2019.
Although Crown had been asking for a three-to-four year jail term, Nield was given 30 months of probation after being found guilty by the original jury.
In the appeal case, the three-justice panel said the trial judge erred on evidence relating to the mental state as someone unaware of their actions.
Nield, who had launched his civil suit against his alleged victim in 2017, claimed during the trial he had been self-medicating with psilocybin (magic mushrooms) for treatment of severe headaches.
At his first trial, the accused parents also testified as to their son’s unclear mental condition when they visited him at PRH before the alleged assault. Nield is also trained in martial arts.
Before the original trial, the accused was held in custody and was ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment by Judge Gale Sinclair, for a maximum of 30 days at the Coquitlam Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.
He was found fit to stand trial.
Officials at the time said the incident happened when Nield and Sheoran were in an interview room alone in the psychiatric ward of PRH.
The injuries were severe enough the doctor was transferred to Kelowna General Hospital after being treated in Penticton. They included what Crown counsel at the time, Sarah Firestone, said were a broken jaw, brain injury and emotional trauma.
The doctor and patient had reportedly worked together without any problem before to the alleged assault.
According to McLaughlin, under the Charge Assessment Guidelines: “Charges will only be approved or continued where Crown Counsel is satisfied that the evidence gathered by the investigative agency provides a substantial likelihood of conviction and, if so, that a prosecution is required in the public interest.”
He went on to say the test applies to all stages of prosecution including cases like this one where there has been an appeal and new trial ordered.
“If, at any point, the prosecutor concludes that the charge assessment standard is no longer met a prosecution cannot proceed,” he stated. “In this case the prosecutor concluded the test was no longer met and, appropriately, directed the stay of proceedings.
“This decision was conveyed to the complainant in advance of directing the stay.”