Ex-priest's trial begins today

The court case for Philip Jacobs, charged with sexual offences involving children while serving as a Catholic priest in Victoria, begins today in B.C. Supreme Court with a voir dire.

A voir dire, frequently described as "a trial within a trial," is held to determine the admissibility of certain evidence during a trial. The voir dire in the Jacobs case is expected to last up to four days, after which Justice Miriam Gropper will rule on how the trial will proceed.

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Defence counsel Chris Considine and Crown attorney Clare Jennings spent the first part of this week discussing procedural matters with Gropper.

Jacobs, a tall, balding man in his early 60s, sat through the proceedings Wednesday. The charges he is facing come from his time as parish priest at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church from 1998 to 2002, which followed two years at St. Rose of Lima in Sooke.

He has been charged with two counts of sexual interference with a person under 14, one count of sexual assault and one count of touching a young person for a sexual purpose.

Jacobs resigned from St. Joseph in 2002 after information surfaced that he had been dismissed from an Ohio church several years before over allegations of inappropriate conduct involving teenage boys. No criminal charges resulted.

A Saanich police investigation of Jacobs began in 2002, but there was not enough evidence to charge him. A complaint made in 2009 led to further investigation, and Jacobs was arrested in 2010.


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