John Heintzelman, 67, is accused of sexually assaulting two women at his former business, James Bay Massage. (Black Press Media File Photo)

John Heintzelman, 67, is accused of sexually assaulting two women at his former business, James Bay Massage. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Victoria masseuse not allowed to appeal order for new trial after acquitted of sexual assault charges

A judge found the appeal would not have a “reasonable prospect of success”

Warning, this story contains details of an alleged sexual assault.

A Victoria massage provider will not be able to appeal an order for a new trial in relation to two counts of sexual assault after a judge found the appeal would not have a “reasonable prospect of success.”

John Heintzelman was acquitted of the charges, which was then appealed by Crown and on Sept. 6, 2019, a summary appeal judge ordered a new trial. Heintzelman argues that the summary appeal judge erred in law by setting aside the acquittal and ordering a new trial.

Court of Appeal Justice Gail Dickson dismissed the application, stating she did not agree with Heintzelman’s submissions and saw no error in the summary appeal judge’s ruling.

RELATED: Rogue masseur arrested for sexual assault in Victoria

Heintzelman operated a massage business from a basement studio in his James Bay home. Heintzelman allegedly sexually assaulted two women, whose names are protected by a publication ban, and can only be identified as E.M. and T.T.

Both E.M. and T.T. were clients of his. The first assault is alleged to have occurred on July 2, 2017.

At trial, E.M. testified that Heintzelman touched her sexually on the breasts and genital area while he was performing a hot stone massage. She reported it to the police four days later and on July 9, 2017 Heintzelman was arrested and released on bail conditions.

A few months later, on Oct. 20, Victoria police posted on Facebook asking for more victims to come forward, naming Heintzelman, along with the current and past names of his business and the location of his studio.

T.T. saw the notice and contacted the police on the same day, alleging Heintzelman sexually touched her breast and genital area during a hot stone massage in December 2013. She told the courts she didn’t come forward earlier because she was on medication for mental health issues.

RELATED: Crown to appeal acquittal of Victoria masseur accused of sexual assault

Court documents show the two women’s accounts of the separate alleged incidents both involved Heintzelman telling them to remove all their clothes and to lie on their backs on his massage table. Both said he placed hot stones under their back and began to massage their body including their genitals and breasts. Both accounts noted he pinched their nipples very hard. Both women said Heintzelman placed their cupped hand under his penis and that he moved his body or their hand in a way that stroked his penis.

Heintzelman denied ever touching them in a sexual manner.

Provincial court Judge Ted Gouge stated each of the witnesses “presented eminently credible,” with Crown counsel submitting that, by reason of the similarity of their accounts, the evidence of each complainant is corroborative of the other.

However, the judge stated in his ruling that two things reduced the “corroborative weight” of the women’s testimony: the potential impact of the one woman’s mental illness on her evidence, and police conduct during the investigation.

Gouge said that he had very little information to assist in assessing the impact, if any, of the one woman’s mental illness or her medication on the reliability of her evidence.

He noted that the Facebook post the Victoria police had published to seek additional witnesses, tainted the ability to test the veracity of the second complaint that came forward.

The summary appeal judge ordered a new trial after finding the trial judge erred in allowing the weight to be given on such evidence to be affected by “what appears to have been speculations about the possible impact on that evidence of the psychiatric condition and medications taken by one of the complainants.” The judge went on to state this error was supplemented by the trial judge’s treatment of the media release and its possible impact on the evidence from both women.

Heintzelman appeared in court on Jan. 13 to fix a date but was adjourned to Feb. 20.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
UPDATE: Search suspended for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

Most Read