Ashton avoids appeal

Crown counsel will not pursue an appeal in the matter of a former Vernon teacher and vice-principal found not guilty of five charges in connection with an alleged sexual relationship with a former student.

Deborah Louise Ashton was found not guilty on five counts by B.C. Supreme Court judge Alison Beames in March, her second trial on the matter.

Ashton’s first trial in February 2011 resulted in a hung jury.

Criminal Justice Branch spokesperson Neil MacKenzie said Crown’s right of appeal in a case such as Ashton’s is quite limited.

“We can only appeal if there is a basis to argue the trial judge made an incorrect decision on a question of law,” said MacKenzie. “Our branch considered the case, reviewed the trial judge’s decision and concluded there isn’t a legal basis on which we can pursue an appeal.”

MacKenzie added his branch can’t appeal a matter simply on the basis Crown argued for a different outcome.

Ashton is still facing two charges of perjury, in connection with her first trial, which will go to trial later this year after a provincial court judge determined there was enough evidence to warrant a trial.

A date for that trial has yet to be determined.


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