Skip to content

Nurse on lam after assault conviction committed professional misconduct: college

James Edward Christie fled Canada in 2017 during the appeal of his convictions for assaulting three elderly Vancouver Island residents.
A judge found James Edward Christie used unnecessary force against three patients at Selkirk Seniors Village who were bedridden and in advanced states of dementia in April and May 2015. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

A former Victoria licensed practical nurse convicted of assaulting three residents of Selkirk Seniors Village in the spring of 2015 committed professional misconduct, a discipline committee of the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives has concluded.

James Edward Christie fled Canada in July 2017 during the appeal of his convictions and of the six-month sentence imposed by the provincial court in November 2016.

Judge Lisa Mrozinski found Christie struck and used uninvited and unnecessary force against the three patients, who were bedridden and in advanced states of dementia in April and May 2015.

“You struck at the private parts of two of the victims, causing them obvious pain. You caused the third victim to moan when you pressed your torso into her face, which you had covered with a blanket,” Mrozinski said in her sentencing decision. “These acts were intentional, cruel and, quite frankly, sadistic in their nature. The residents you assaulted were the most vulnerable of an otherwise vulnerable population.”

Elderly patients suffering from dementia are indistinguishable from infants in the sense they are so dependent on their caregivers, the judge said.

“The abuse of elders, particularly by a professional charged with their care, is an offence that causes the community to shudder,” she said. “People cannot live in daily fear that their loved ones might be abused in a care home. The very idea tears at the fabric of our society.”

Christie appealed his conviction and sentence a week later and was released from the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre on Nov. 16, 2022.

He did not report to Saanich Community Corrections on July 17, 2017, and on Oct. 10, 2017, a warrant was issued for his arrest. The warrant instructed police to arrest Christie and bring him before any judge in the province.

The B.C. Corrections Branch advised the discipline committee that Christie’s sentence has not been served.

Christie’s appeal was eventually dismissed and the convictions upheld.

In 2019, an investigator was assigned to determine whether Christie’s conduct — the three assaults on patients and his failure to respond to the college — constituted misconduct. A hearing was held in March. Despite the college making “every attempt” to notify Christie of the discipline hearing, he did not attend. The committee substantiated all four breaches.

It found Christie’s conduct to be unbecoming a member of the health profession, “unethical,” “disgraceful and dishonourable.”

The college said it had expended considerable time and resources preparing for the hearing. Proceeding with the disciplinary proceedings was important even in Christie’s absence, it stressed.

“Not proceeding with the hearing would unduly prejudice the college’s interest and ability to proceed expeditiously with discipline hearings against its members, and also to adequately protect the public by disciplining members who are alleged to have committed serious professional misconduct,” the decision reads.

Christie has 30 days to appeal the committee’s decision. The committee has not decided the penalty for the misconduct.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks