Well-known criminal locked up again

Nelson grew up in Campbell River and is well-known to police with 67 criminal convictions

A man released from prison last year on a manslaughter conviction is back in custody, charged with assaulting a police officer and several more crimes.

Robert Oliver Nelson, 38, is due to have a bail hearing Thursday morning in Campbell River provincial court. He is currently facing 10 charges.

Nelson grew up in Campbell River and is well-known to police with 67 criminal convictions, mostly for property offences and violating court orders.

One of his last arrests here was in December 2005 for stealing a jacket. He later received an 18-month jail sentence for the theft and other charges.

At some point Nelson moved to Prince George. On July 14, 2009, Nelson assaulted tattoo artist Darren Lee Paterson, 29, over a debt. Nelson struck Paterson in the stomach with a collapsable baton and then punched him in the head, knocking the man to the ground.

Paterson was briefly knocked out and later went home, but that afternoon he called for an ambulance. He died that night in hospital from a head injury.

Following a nine-day trial, a jury found Nelson guilty of manslaughter. In November 2011, he was sentenced to five years in prison, but received a two-for-one credit for pre-trial custody – a credit that has since been revoked by Parliament.

He served the eight months remaining on the sentence and was released on probation.

On Aug. 20, around 6 p.m., Campbell River RCMP were called to a report of an assault that had occurred near Discovery Pier.

According to police, an officer spotted the suspect vehicle leaving the scene and also recognized the driver, Nelson, who was wanted on a warrant out of Prince George for two counts of fleeing police.

The officer followed him to an apartment parking lot, quietly approached the stopped vehicle and then told Nelson he was under arrest.

Nelson allegedly lunged and struck the officer in an apparent escape attempt.

In the scuffle that followed, Nelson lost his shirt and shoe as he attempted to flee, but the officer was able to safely subdue and pin him down as others arrived to help.

In addition to the charges out of Prince George, Nelson is

facing charges of resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer, escaping lawful custody, possession of cocaine, possession of ammunition contrary to a probation order, and two further counts of breaching probation.

During his sentencing hearing for the manslaughter conviction in 2011, the judge strongly advised Nelson to seek residential treatment for substance abuse. And according to the Prince George Citizen, Supreme Court Justice James Williams also had this advice for Nelson:

“I really hope things can work out for you because if you find yourself back before the court, there really will be fewer options for you.”