Jury finds Kamloops man guilty of sexually assaulting his niece over multi-year period

Uncle guilty of sex assault

A Kamloops man has been convicted on two counts of sexual assault stemming from a series of incidents involving his niece, who he took in after helping her immigrate to Canada.

Nihal Maligaspe stood trial in B.C. Supreme Court on three counts of sexual assault relating to incidents that occurred between 2002 and 2008. Maligaspe maintained all sexual encounters with his niece, Dinushini Maligaspe, were consensual.

A B.C. Supreme Court jury took less than a day of deliberations to come back with guilty verdicts on two of the three charges. The jury began deliberations over the noon hour on Thursday and returned with a verdict at about 10 a.m. on Friday.

Court heard Maligaspe helped Dinushini flee a “chaotic” home life in Sri Lanka, offering her a place to stay with his family in Kamloops. Not long after she moved to Canada, he began to force himself on her.

Dinushini recorded a series of phone calls with Maligaspe in 2019, in which she confronted him about their relationship and the allegations. Those tapes were played for the jury.

Maligaspe was not aware the phone calls were being recorded.

The charge on which Maligaspe was acquitted related to allegations over a specific period during which Dinushini was not living under his roof.

Complainants in sexual assault cases typically cannot be named because their identities are protected by court-ordered publication bans. In this case, Dinushini applied successfully ahead of the trial to a judge to have the ban lifted, meaning she and Maligaspe can be identified by name.

After the jury delivered its verdict on Friday morning, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sharon Matthews ordered Maligaspe surrender his passport to police. She also varied his bail to prohibit him from leaving B.C. pending his sentencing.

Lawyers will return to court on May 16 to set a date for sentencing.

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