VICTORIA - The British Columbia Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial for a former scout leader who was convicted of sexually assaulting two boys during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Justice David Frankel says the conviction against John Viszlai cannot stand because of the instructions the trial judge gave to the jury about certain evidence that arose while the jury wasn't in the courtroom.
That evidence referred to admissions Viszlai made in an interview and an apology he wrote to the two alleged victims following his arrest at a scout jamboree near Sechelt, B.C.
Frankel says the lower court judge told the jury it was required to accept a ruling that Viszlai's statements were "voluntary" and that the interview techniques used by a police officer "did not cross the line into improper behaviour."
He says the instructions could have confused jury members and influenced their decision that any admissions made by Viszlai during the interview were unreliable.
Frankel says Viszlai was substantially prejudiced by what the trial judge said in her instructions about the evidence.