Prince Edward Island businessman convicted of sexual assault in Nova Scotia

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Stephen Nicholas Taweel, 55, of Charlottetown to be sentenced May 16

Stephen Taweel

HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge has convicted a Prince Edward Island businessman of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the Halifax area in 1991.

In an oral decision delivered Monday, Judge Patrick Murray said Stephen Nicholas Taweel, 55, of Charlottetown did not obtain the consent of the girl before they engaged in a series of sexual encounters in a home in Dartmouth, N.S.

Taweel who pleaded not guilty prior to his trial last November, is president of Taweel Developments Inc. and Taweel Construction Ltd. He is also chairman of the Charlottetown Downtown Residents Association.

During his trial, he denied touching the girl in Dartmouth, testifying that they did engage in consensual sexual activity soon after they first met in P.E.I. earlier that year.

The legal age of consent in 1991 was 14, the girl’s age at the time. Taweel told the court that the girl had told him she was 16 years old.

The sexual assault charge dealt only with the encounters in Nova Scotia. The judge said evidence of what happened in P.E.I. in 1991 was admitted to provide context and to assess credibility.

The complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, described herself in court as a naive, timid and vulnerable girl who felt “trapped and confused” by a confident and persistent older man, the judge said.

“In observing Mr. Taweel, I noticed there were times he was uncomfortable,” Murray said. “As a result, he stumbled and was visibly shaken. ... Contrary to his counsel’s submission, Mr. Taweel’s evidence was not clear and straightforward.”

By contrast, he said evidence presented by the complainant was “vivid and distinctive,” as it contained detailed descriptions of places, smells, colours and patterns.

The complainant, who is now 36, told the court about nine meetings she had with Taweel, including three sexual encounters in a home in Nova Scotia.

She testified that she did not invite Taweel to touch her, but she felt “resigned to it” because she was terrified by a threatening tone that included warnings not to tell anyone what had happened, Murray said.

“Overall, her general credibility stacked up well,” he said. “I assessed the Crown’s evidence on the main elements of the offence as reliable. I can attribute no motive to lie on the part of the complainant.”

Murray said he believed the complainant’s assertion that she did not consent to be touched in a sexual manner.

“Nothing she said brought it on and she did not ask for it,” he said. “I accept the complainant’s evidence that she was intimidated, that his words were menacing to her and this amounted to coercion.”

Taweel’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 16.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Taweel Developments, Taweel Construction

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, HALIFAX Charlottetown Dartmouth Nova Scotia.She

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Recent comments

  • Jonathon
    May 18, 2014 - 01:07

    You can't be serious- and you must be astoundingly clueless to think money would be a primary motivator for reporting such a crime..she was a child! he was in his 30's!! ..sometimes the worst character flaws are the ones you see the least...and the impacts of sexual assault go beyond the individual and have a collective impact on the social well being of our community - I agree with the prosecutor - a Federal Prison sentence and no less.

  • Ted
    May 11, 2014 - 21:45

    Mel is a friend of mine. He is a very hard working, fine person. A person I have learned to trust and respect. Remember folks, this happened in 1991. The age of consent was 14 years old. This young lady never refused his advances. Mel says he thought that she was older. I know Mel very well. If this young lady had shown, at any time, that she was not a willing participant Mel would have immediately stopped his advances. The lady now says that she never tried to persuade Mel to stop because she was intimidated by Mel. Mel is not a intimidating person. Mel is a happy go lucky person who is kind and caring. Through hard work Mel has made some money. I wonder if Mel was a poor man, if she would have pursued him. Makes you wonder.

  • Matt
    February 25, 2014 - 21:47

    Why is all if this just happening now? When were the charges laid?

  • patsy glover
    February 25, 2014 - 08:32

    he is a disgrace to the Taweel name.i grew up with the Taweel people all around me I baby say for them all the time, when I was a young girl and not once did any of the men make advances to me. he is disgusting.

    • There a lot
      February 25, 2014 - 20:51

      There were four cases this week in the paper of diviant behavior . I find PEI men in general very disrespectful and the have trouble with boundies and the word no in general . They expect great things even if they buy you a coffee .

  • JRSPLACE
    February 25, 2014 - 07:26

    All you people should show a little bit compassion!

    • JRSPLACE
      February 26, 2014 - 20:36

      Notice I won't drop down to your level on such a tragic story .

  • vick
    February 25, 2014 - 05:38

    Looks like the Sam the record man corner wont be getting fixed up anytime soon!

    • Victoria
      February 25, 2014 - 12:15

      Really Vic thats all you got,a 14yr old girls life has been ripped apart for the rest of her life...sure hope you don't have a daughter with a poor attitude like that...I really hope this adult woman now is do good with her life, because its a hard thing to move past.....

    • joe roundabout
      February 25, 2014 - 21:35

      This guy is not part of the Tweel family that owns Sam the Record man building or any of the buildings in the downtown. Different people.

  • Go Easy On Him??
    February 24, 2014 - 22:19

    Seriously? A 33 year old man has multiple sexual encounters with a 14 year old girl and you think they should go easy on him? I wonder if you would be that forgiving if it was your 14 year old daughter?

    • candrayo
      February 25, 2014 - 06:22

      If it was my 14 year old daughter I would not want to go easy on him AT ALL…..but that is why we have a system in place to protect both sides of the equation. If a man is attracted to a 14 year old, it tells me something about his mentality……tells me there IS a mental illness. He needs help too….he just would not be getting it from me! But he deserves to be called sick….not criminal! Speaking as one who was abused and has forgiven her abuser because I know he is sick. All I can do now is work at not allowing his interference in my life to cause me any more pain than it already has and help change the system so we it can protect ALL of it's CITIZENS!!!

  • JRSPLACE
    February 24, 2014 - 20:00

    They should go easy on him. Could be mental health. Not his fault!

    • bj
      February 24, 2014 - 21:42

      WHAT!!!??? YOU ARE JOKING, RIGHT??? EVEN IF HE DID OBTAIN CONSENT, SHE WAS 14 -- SPELLS STATUTORY RAPE!!!

    • JRSPLACE
      February 25, 2014 - 00:12

      Its a fake comment people you can put any name in any comment . its actually from WAYNEDROPS.

    • Ange Dugay
      February 25, 2014 - 07:36

      Your a sick person to think they should go easy on him... Obviously your not a parent... Hopefully since he's being sentenced over there he will recieve a long harsh sentence...

    • intobed
      February 25, 2014 - 09:33

      No bj, in 1991 the law said a fourteen year old was considered mature enough to give consent to anyone older than, or not less than two years younger than themselves if they wished to. If the girl was under the age of fourteen, that was considered statutory rape. The law has since been rightfully changed to age sixteen being the legal age of consent. But in 1991, it was fourteen.

    • JRSPLACE
      February 25, 2014 - 09:48

      This is the real JRSPLACE...I think we should all give this guy a break. He deserves it. As for WayneDrops...he is just a troll!

    • JRSPLACE
      February 26, 2014 - 06:57

      Its not the real commenter people you can put any name you wish above any comment .