Vancouver Law Courts

Man loses bid to appeal kidnapping and robbery conviction

Christopher Duerksen charged following 2014 incident in Abbotsford

A man involved in a 2014 kidnapping and robbery in Abbotsford has lost his bid to appeal his conviction.

Christopher John Duerkson sought the appeal on the basis that his statements to police should be inadmissible because he didn’t have “reasonable opportunity” to consult a lawyer of his choice.

Duerksen was charged following the incident on June 20, 2014, in which he and co-accused Stuart Forrest cornered the victim in a shed on his property.

Duerksen planned to tie up the man, take him for a drive in his car and scare him into having his family pay a multi-million-dollar ransom.

However, the victim attempted to run away, but Forrest struck him in the head several times, causing his head to hit the cement.

The men then placed the man in Duerksen’s truck, brought him to a nearby park, tied him to a tree and left.

The following morning, Duerksen called the Abbotsford Police Department, offering to turn himself in after he consulted with a lawyer.

Court documents indicate that an officer suggested that Duerksen come to the police station, where a lawyer could then be provided.

But Duerksen was arrested a short time later when he was found near the truck that had been used in the kidnapping.

He was subsequently charged with kidnapping and aggravated assault.

When he was transported to police cells, he was able to speak with a Legal Aid lawyer for two minutes.

Prior to him being interviewed by police, a detective asked Duerksen if he wanted to speak with a lawyer, to which he replied, “No, the first time was pointless,” according to the documents.

The detective then conducted an interview with Duerksen that lasted almost four hours, during which time he several times mentioned his wish to consult a lawyer.

In response, the detective referred to a list of lawyers kept in a book in the detachment, and said private lawyers would not answer at such an early hour, but there would be someone available in the morning.

“The interview continued, and Mr. Duerksen provided evidence incriminating himself,” the documents stated.

Duerksen had another call with a lawyer the following day, and during a follow-up interview with police again said he wished to speak to a lawyer.

“When (the detective) responded that Mr. Duerksen had already had the opportunity to speak to his lawyer, the interview continued and Mr. Duerksen provided a number of additional details. He admitted to having planned the kidnapping and to his involvement in the offence,” the court documents state.

The key issue at Duerksen’s trial was the admissibility of his statements to police, but the trial judge allowed them as evidence and he was convicted of robbery, kidnapping and assault causing bodily harm.

He was sentenced in June 2106 to four years, but with pre-trial credit taken into account, he was given 11 months in jail.

Dueksen appealed the conviction, saying the trial judge erred in allowing his statements, but the appeals panel disagreed and ruled that the decision should stick.

The panel said that Duerksen had been provided enough opportunity to contact a lawyer and he waived his right to contact counsel again after being charged with robbery, since he requested to speak to police.

The decision by the B.C. Court of Appeal was reached on Feb. 6 in Vancouver.