Hamilton shooter loses appeal


Published November 2, 2023 at 1:42 pm


A man convicted of firing a gun at a Hamilton home has lost his appeal.

Shots rang out in the parking lot of the Knights of Columbus Hall at 222 Queenston Rd. on April 13, 2019. The parking lot was full of people shortly after 2:30 a.m. that morning when a white SUV pulled in.

A woman got out of the SUV and approached some of the people standing in the parking lot, according to witness testimony. The woman appeared to grow angry while talking with the people. She pulled out a pistol and fired three shots either at the building or into the air.

Seconds later, the witness said, a man responded with gunfire of his own. The identity of this male shooter later became a sticking point in court and was the reason behind the appeal. The man fired about four rounds into the building and its door. He then stormed off down Queenston Rd.

Police on patrol spotted Shane Williamson on Britannia Ave. near Normanhurst Ave. about 1.5 kilometres north of the hall. After hearing reports of the shooting, police began to actively search for Williamson. They found him hiding in a Shelby Ave. backyard inside a cubby hole behind a shed.

Investigators also found the pistol used in the shooting under a planter in a yard on  Julian Ave. between the hall and the yard Williamson was arrested in. On his arrest, Williamson said he fired in fear. “I’m the victim, I was scared for my life, people were shooting at me, I’ve been shot before,” he told police.

Williamson was under prohibition orders not to own a weapon and did not have a permit for the pistol. At trial, Williamson’s lawyer argued there were enough gaps in the chain of evidence to create a reasonable doubt he was the shooter. However, Justice Tory Colvin was not convinced and found “guilt is the only possible conclusion on the totality of the evidence.”

However, Williamson felt the judge did not treat his claim to be an innocent bystander who fled in fear fairly. As such, he appealed the conviction on that ground. Appeals Judge Benjamin Zarnett did not agree.

Zarnett found the Colvin had fairly considered the defence’s argument but rejected it. “Accordingly when the trial judge said that ‘[t]he alternative explanation that’s argued for by counsel for the defence do not raise any other possible conclusion…[than guilt]’ he was clearly rejecting the theory and its evidentiary support,” Zarnett wrote in his decision.

Williamson additionally argued Colvin did not sufficiently explain the logic of his decision in his reason for judgement, did not acknowledge the “frailties” of eyewitness testimony and failed to consider other shortcomings in the evidence. Zarnett however found “the trial judge’s reasons are sufficient to show how he addressed gaps in the evidence.”

As a result Zarnett rejected the appeal.

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