Judge orders new trial for Victoria masseur acquitted of sex assaults
Both complainants described unwanted sexual touching during hot stone massage treatments in his home. (File photo)
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ordered a new trial for a Victoria massage provider accused of sexually assaulting two clients, saying the decision to acquit the man may have been made in error.
John Heintzelman was found not guilty of two counts of sexual assault on Dec. 20, 2018.
Heitzelman had been operating his James Bay Massage business out of the basement of his home in the 300-block of Kingston St., when he was accused of assaulting two clients, in 2013 and 2017.
Both complainants described unwanted sexual touching during hot stone massage treatments in his home.
The trial judge found the Victoria Police Department had provided too much information in a news release seeking other alleged victims, thereby reducing the corroborative weight of the evidence of the second complainant, who came forward on the day the release was issued.
On Friday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled the trial judge had committed "errors of law" and that "the errors had a material bearing on both acquittals, and that verdicts would not necessarily have been the same if the errors had not been made."
A new trial has not yet been scheduled for Heintzelman.
He has denied assaulting the two women, and his wife testified at trial that she was upstairs in the home when one of the accusers was being treated and heard nothing unusual.