(THUNDER BAY, ON) – JUDGE ISSUES “JORDAN DECISION” STAYING CHARGE OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ON 58 YEAR OLD WILLIAM DONALD WITILUK.
AS USUAL, NO NOTIFICATION FROM THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AT TBPS AND NO LOCAL MEDIA PRESENT.
Appearing in Courtroom 102 this morning Tuesday February 26,2019 is alleged rapist 58 year old WILLIAM DONALD WITILUK.
WITILUK stands about 5’6” tall wearing glasses, tan shoes and pants, green plaid shirt and olive coloured jacket. He has gray curly hair. WITILUK has a woman in the courtroom who supports him.
The parents of the victim are also present to hear the decision.
Her Honour, Justice Chantal Brochu is presiding. Crown Attorneys Andrew Sadler and Piera Pasloski are present along with Defence Attorney Neil McCartney.
Shannon from Victim Services is also here on behalf of the victim who is not present.
WITILUK is here to find out the judgement on a Jordan Application. His lawyer argued last month that WITILUK’s charter rights under Section 11b were violated. He argued the Crown took too long to bring the case to trial.
In the early morning hours of April 8,2017 a young 23 year old woman had finished up her postsecondary studies and went out to a bar in the city to celebrate with friends. The young woman had a few too many drinks and it affected her physical abilities. The decision was made to take a cab home.
She got into a Roach’s Taxicab. It’s alleged that WILLIAM DONALD WITILUK was driving that taxi. The woman asked to be taken home.
Instead, she was brought to WITILUK’s home where she was allegedly raped while she was inebriated. Despite being heavily under the influence of alcohol, the victim knew this was wrong and managed to get the cab driver’s card. After the alleged rape occurred, police were contacted, a trip was made to hospital, full rape kit was complete and it’s alleged that WILLIAM DONALD WITILUK’s DNA was found in the young lady. WITILUK was arrested by Thunder Bay Police and charged with sexual assault.
Thunder Bay Police continue the investigation acquiring more evidence including the GPS information from the taxi.
Trial was scheduled for 3 days: March 27, April 15 & 16, 2019.
The completion of the trial would be 24 months and 8 days after the accused was charged.
In January 2019, Defence Attorney Neil McCartney filed a Charter Application.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s 2016 R. v. Jordan decision – often called the ‘Jordan decision’ – establishes timelines that trials must be heard by:
*18 months after charges are laid – for a province’s main entry point into the court system (example: Ontario Court of Justice)
*30 months after charges are laid – for a province’s superior court (example: Superior Court of Justice)
McCartney argued in the application that he did everything possible to move the case along. The Crown argued that the Defence has late requests for disclosure and did not download all the disclosure in a timely fashion. However, they did concede some delays in their office.
Numerous dates and timelines are submitted to Her Honour so she can attribute who caused which delays. If there are exceptional circumstances or defence caused delays, those will work against the accused.
Justice Brochu finds that the bulk of the delay was on the Crown. There were no exceptional circumstances. I found it strange that Her Honour had no idea why the defence only downloaded partial disclosure but felt it was the burden of the Crown to ensure that Defence downloads it all.
Justice Brochu rules that the Section 11b Charter Rights of WILLIAM DONALD WITILUK have been violated. The charge of sexual assault is stayed. The trial dates are vacated.
The accused rapist no longer has the criminal charge to worry about as he leaves the courthouse with his female supporter.
I believe this should have been a slam dunk case for a conviction.
THIS DECISION SHOULD NOT DISCOURAGE ANY VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT FROM COMING FORWARD.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE TIMELY JUSTICE?
Thunder Bay has a huge crime problem. Much like our Police Officers, we have an increasingly overworked office of Crown Attorneys. The case loads are massive. If we as a society expect justice to be dealt with properly, we need to provide the proper resources for it. The Thunder Bay Crown Attorney’s Office would benefit from a larger budget and more Human Resources.
More people are required. By and large, we have an excellent team of Crown Attorneys here in Thunder Bay. But the reality is, we need more.
My thoughts are with the victim during this time.