A young Barriere man was convicted of sexual assault Friday, five years after his family’s outdoor tradition took on a tragic taint.
Judge Chris Cleavely found William Patrick Baillie guilty as charged before reading his 31-page decision on a case dating back to July 11, 2007.
On that day, the Baillie family, along with friends and relatives, followed a 20-year custom of camping and partying at Hollywood Beach at North Barriere Lake. There was heavy drinking, particularly by younger people, which carried on into the late evening.
Baillie and the victim, both 19 at the time, were friends. She had just broken up with her boyfriend and testified that she was upset as a result. Baillie was supportive. As a campfire party wore on, she sat in his lap for a while, but he later pushed her off and insulted her.
The victim hadn’t planned to spend the night, but decided to stay and was offered bedding with which to sleep on the beach. She slept next to the accused man, but made it clear to him she had no interest in sex and he agreed before they both went to sleep. She testified that she awoke to find Baillie sexually assaulting her.
In his own defence, Baillie testified that he passed out on the beach and was too drunk to recall events. The judge found his testimony, barely audible in the witness box, was not believable.
Defence arguments centred around two later events, where witnesses claimed that the victim not only expressed remorse for the trouble she caused, but also recanted her story and admitted making up the sex assault.
The victim claimed she was responding to pressure from all sides to either pursue the charges or drop them.
Cleavely dealt with the evidence provided by each defence witness and concluded — with all but that provided by William Baillie Sr., father of the accused — that it lacked credibility or truthfulness. By contrast, the victim’s testimony was convincing, he noted.
“(She) gave a very reasonable explanation over why she was having remorse over the entire situation,” he said.
Crown counsel requested a pre-sentence report, scheduled to come before the court on June 28.