Muise ruled there was no evidence to support the Crown’s assertion that Williams had “hunted” the boys that night, even though he went looking for them on Highway 103 after seeing them underneath a highway overpass on the Welshtown road a short time earlier. If Williams had wanted to run them down, Muise said, he would have had the opportunity to do so then.
Davis had testified that a car had swerved at them as they had walked on that road and that at one point there had been a confrontation involving Williams and his son. Davis said he and Benham climbed a hill to go up to the highway.
Justice Muise said he accepted defence evidence that Williams went looking for the boys on Highway 103 to keep them in sight to ensure they would not evade the police.
Because Williams had not been drinking that night, Muise ruled his recollection of events would be reliable. The justice expressed concern over the reliability of the testimony of the two young men, saying they had been drinking at the party, were intoxicated and had done drugs during the day.
Muise didn’t assign fault for the two young men being hit, saying the two could have easily misjudged the distance and speed of an approaching vehicle on Highway 103 when they attempted to cross the highway.
The Crown’s case was that the two men had been struck intentionally. The Crown had argued that two men had not just appeared quickly out of nowhere, leaving Williams unable to avoid them. Justice Muise, however, said in the absence of supporting evidence he couldn’t accept the Crown’s assertion.
The Crown had also asserted at trial that Williams was traveling too fast on the highway that night, given that it was misty and foggy, thereby creating poor visibility. But, Muise said, the evidence pointed to Williams only driving 60 to 70 kilometres an hour, which wouldn’t be considered driving in a dangerous manner, even under those weather conditions.
An RCMP officer had testified at trial that Williams and his son were at the scene of the collision when they arrived. Damage to Williams' vehicle was on the drivers' side.
One of the men struck was on the scene, injured. The other showed up, injured, a short time later at the nearby Tim Hortons.
Did you know?
This case has been controversial in the community. It was the focus of a public meeting and protest in late November 2014 by people who felt the RCMP were dragging their feet in laying charges. Charges against Williams came in early 2015.