Photo of Thomas Rancourt (Facebook)
An acquaintance of David Sillars says he was intoxicated, but not “wasted.”
Michael White testified at Sillars’ trial in Oshawa yesterday. The Bracebridge Examiner is reporting White took the stand after originally being scheduled to testify last Wednesday. He had been hospitalized because of the stress connected with testifying.
The 38-year-old Sillars is on trial for the death of eight-year-old Thomas Rancourt of Huntsville. He was killed when he fell out of a canoe and went over the falls on the Muskoka River in Bracebridge on April 7th of last year.
Sillars is facing four charges; impaired operation of a vessel causing death, criminal negligence causing death, dangerous operation causing death, and operating a vessel with a blood-alcohol level over 80 milligrams causing death. He’s pleaded not guilty to all four charges.
According to the report, White testified that on the day Rancourt lost his life he, Sillars, and another man had a few drinks. In his testimony, White said Sillars was intoxicated but “still with it.” Later that day Sillars failed a breath test at the hospital.
After expressing a desire to go out canoeing, White testified he told Sillars that would be a bad idea because of the water’s cold temperatures.
White also told the court that when Thomas’ mother, Jessica Hooper, arrived with the boy and her other child she nearly left after an argument with Sillars. That was because of a “playful tussle” Sillars, Hooper’s boyfriend, got into with the other man he and White had been drinking with. That “tussle” caused some furniture to be knocked over and White testified Hooper wanted to leave because she didn’t want the kids to see that happening.
White was then cross-examined by one of Sillars’ lawyers, William Thompson. During his questioning, Thompson took issue with how well White knew Sillars, since he had called him an acquaintance and whether or not White would know how Sillars would act while drunk. White also testified that he didn’t notice Sillars having any issues with his balance.
Sillars’ trial got underway last Wednesday. It’s a judge-only trial with no jury. Justice Peter West is presiding.