P.E.I. businessman appealing sexual assault conviction

The Canadian Press
Published on August 26, 2014

Stephen Nicholas Taweel, a prominent businessman from Prince Edward Island looks at his smart phone as he waits for his sentencing at Supreme Court in Halifax on Thursday, August 14, 2014. Taweel was convicted earlier this year of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

©Canadian Press photo

HALIFAX - A Prince Edward Island businessman convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the Halifax area more than 20 years ago is appealing his conviction and sentence.

Stephen Nicholas Taweel of Charlottetown was found guilty in February of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in 1991.

The 55-year-old Taweel was sentenced Aug. 14 in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax to 28 months in prison.

Justice Patrick Murray rejected the defence's request for a conditional sentence of two years less a day, saying denunciation and deterrence had to be emphasized ahead of the offender's rehabilitation.

In a notice of appeal filed with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, Taweel says his conviction should be quashed and replaced with a verdict of not guilty or, in the alternative, a new trial ordered.

Taweel claims the trial judge erred in law by applying "starkly different'' standards of scrutiny to the evidence presented by the Crown and the defence.

Taweel argues that "implausible'' evidence from the alleged victim was either accepted or forgiven by the judge.

"The appellant was found not to be credible because of a lack of detail, whereas a similar lack of detail was accepted with regard to the complainant,'' it said.

Taweel is the president of Taweel Developments and Taweel Construction, and also serves as chairman of the Charlottetown Downtown Residents Association.

During his trial, Taweel 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 at the time was 14, though Taweel said in court the girl had told him she was 16 years old.