A Prince George man was found guilty Wednesday for his role in a 2014 assault that turned into a robbery and kidnapping.
Prince George provincial court judge Elizabeth Bayliff convicted Wayne Victor Willier of seven of the 12 charges he was facing for the incident that began on Feb. 28, 2014. A 68-year-old man was assaulted, robbed of his van and bank card and then moved to other residences before finally making his escape.
In her reasons for judgment, issued via video conference from a courtroom in Quesnel, Bayliff said the central issue in this case was identity and whether it could be proven Willier was involved.
During the course of the trial, the victim described up to 10 people who were involved in the roughly 30-hour ordeal that began when he went to an 1100-block Ahbau Street home to pick up three people to drive them home to Burns Lake.
The victim was only familiar with one person, Myles Hunter Alec, who was sentenced in December to two years less five days in jail for one count each of unlawful confinement and assault with a weapon and two counts of possession of stolen property in relation to the same incident.
When he arrived at the home, the court heard that the victim was invited inside where there were about five other men in addition to Alec - four of whom were aboriginal and one who was Caucasian.
The six men disappeared into the kitchen and when they returned were all armed with something, ranging from what appeared to be a pistol, to batons.
The victim was accused by the men of inappropriately touching the younger sister of Alec's girlfriend. He was punched in the face and head, a pistol was pointed at his head and eventually he was told to empty his pockets, hand over the keys to his van and bank card and relinquish his PIN. Blank vehicle transfer papers were also put in front of him, which he was made to sign.
The man was held in the home for a couple of hours before being moved to an Oak Street home.
The next day, he was moved again to a home on Redwood Street before distracting his captors and escaping to a friend's home where an ambulance and police were called.
"Does the evidence prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused, Wayne Victor Willier, was one of the individuals involved in the assault and confinement of Mr. Walton? I have decided that the answer to this question must be yes," said Bayliff.
The judge noted areas where the victim's memory may have been affected by the stress he was under to pinpoint Willier as the Caucasian man, as well as the need to use caution with any testimony supplied by Alec who was subpoenaed as a witness after his own conviction.
But there were enough places where testimony aligned, Bayliff said.
Willier was found guilty of one count of assault with a firearm, for pointing what turned out to be an imitation air pistol at the victim; one count of extortion for his threat of violence in pointing the fake gun and actual violence in the punches thrown before having the victim hand over his bank card and PIN, vehicle keys and sign the transfer papers; one count of kidnapping; one count of robbery of the victim's van; two counts of possession of stolen property under $5,000 for both the van and the purloined bank card; and one count of assault causing bodily harm for punching the victim, leaving him with bruises, eyes that were swollen shut and a bloody nose and lips.
He was found not guilty of use of a firearm (since it was fake), use of a firearm for extortion as it couldn't be proved it was the gun that made the victim turn over his property as opposed to the overall atmosphere of violence, pointing a firearm, or assault with a weapon. A conditional stay of proceedings was recorded for the charge of unlawful confinement, because he could not be charged with both that and kidnapping. A date for sentencing will be set on May 25.