Interior Health’s former top doctor has sex-related charges involving a minor withdrawn

Dr. Albert de Villiers stood trial in Grande Prairie court Wednesday to face verdict for voyeurism, making sexually explicit material available to a child, and invitation to sexual touching. He only received a conditional $2,000 peace bond.

Interior Health’s former top doctor has sex-related charges involving a minor withdrawn
CBC News
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Interior Health's former top doctor received a two-year peace bond Wednesday for sex-related charges — the second disturbing case involving him and a minor.

Dr. Albert de Villiers stood trial in Grande Prairie court Wednesday to receive his verdict for voyeurism, making sexually explicit material available to a child, and invitation to sexual touching.

According to Alberta RCMP, the offences involving a child happened between January 2017 and December 2019. They arrested him in June 2021 for questioning.

De Villiers ultimately received a $2,000 peace bond on the condition he never contacts the victims or their families and does not consume alcohol or drugs.

The Justice presiding over his case withdrew all charges against the defendant as he is already serving a five-and-a-half-year sentence for committing a sexual assault against another underage victim.

In February, Alberta's Court of King's Bench Justice Shaina Leonard convicted de Villiers of sexually assaulting a child and sexual interference over multiple incidents between 2018 and 2020 in Grande Prairie.

When he received the charges, he worked as Interior Health's chief medical health officer from the summer of 2020 to June 2021.

Before moving to the Okanagan, de Villiers worked as a medical health officer for Alberta Health Services (AHS) for 16 years — at the time he committed the sex crime.

Also in Grande Prairie, the trial, which ran from January 10 to 12, included testimony from the victim, who's now 11 years old, the child's parents, and de Villiers himself.

Any information that could identify the victim is protected under a publication ban.

According to court proceedings, the child told his mother in May 2021 that de Villiers had previously shown him pornographic videos during several sleepovers and touched his penis.

The child said the disgraced doctor had put his mouth on the child's penis and told him not to say to his parents what had transpired.

The child, who was between seven and nine years old when the crimes occurred, informed the police they happened repeatedly.

The victim clarified in court that de Villiers manipulated him during the incidents.

During her closing statements, Crown prosecutor Amber Pickrell focused on a voicemail de Villiers left for the child's father in June 2021, after the child's family had stopped returning his calls and blocked him on social media.

Pickrell read a copy of the voicemail transcript in court, where de Villiers said he would not have further contact with the victim's family and should have come forward with what he did.

"All I can say is that I will not have contact with you again [...] I am extremely sorry that what happened did happen, and [I] know [I] should have come to you earlier to tell you what happened," said de Villiers.

"It's just [one] thing that leads to another, and [what] I did was wrong. I take responsibility for what I have done wrong."

Though he denied the allegations against him, Leonard determined the former doctor sexually assaulted the child five to eight times and convicted him of sexual interference and sexual assault.

Due to the "Kienapple principle," which states a person cannot be convicted of two offences due to the same act, the sexual assault charge stayed.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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