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B.C. security firm owner denies sexual relationship with minor

Public safety official William Trowell takes the stand in Castlegar child sex assault trial
William Trowell took the stand at the Rossland Courthouse on Jan. 4. Photo: Sheri Regnier

The trial of a Trail man accused of sexual assault against a minor resumed at the Rossland Courthouse on Jan. 4 after a lengthy delay due to the availability of court room time.

William Trowell, 54, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual interference of a person under 14 years old, two counts of invitation to sexual touching under 14, sexual exploitation and sexual assault, which all allegedly took place some time between 1999 and 2003 in the Prince Rupert and Castlegar areas.

Trowell is the owner of Selkirk Security Systems. He has also been a member of the City of Trail’s Community Safety Task Force and a Prince Rupert Search and Rescue chief.

The trial by judge began in Castlegar Aug. 15 when over the course of several days, the court heard from a number of witnesses, including the complainant, before the trial was paused for a voir dire hearing.

That hearing took place in Nelson in October. Trowell’s defence applied for the stay of proceedings, which would end the trial without a verdict, based on what they claimed was a breach of Trowell’s rights under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. At issue were two missing police files and whether or not the missing files prejudiced Trowell’s ability to defend himself.

Judge Craig Sicotte denied the application.

The trial resumed again in Castlegar on Oct. 30 for two days that were taken up with arguments over evidence admissibility and whether all of the charges should stand.

On Jan. 4 and 5, the accused took the stand at the Rossland Courthouse.

Trowell testified that he has never had any sexual relationship with the complainant, who cannot be named due to a publication ban.

This is contrary to testimony from the complainant who said that there had been several sexual encounters during their early teens followed by an ongoing consensual sexual relationship from the age of 14 to 18.

Trowell testified that he and the youth had become friends over the course of a year when they were both involved in Prince Rupert Search and Rescue and that the youth had helped him on a weekly basis with tasks related to his job as a snack food distributor.

Trowell said the friendship continued even after the youth and their family moved to Castlegar.

He testified that he accepted one or two collect calls, every couple of weeks, from the alleged victim over the course of three months, racking up approximately $1,500 in phone bills.

Trowell then moved to Castlegar, as well.

According to Trowell, the friendship continued over the course of about six-or-seven years and involved activities such as rock climbing and hiking. Eventually the two worked together at two different companies. When the youth was in their late teens, they rented a room from Trowell at his house for a period of about six months.

Trowell was questioned by Crown Counsel regarding testimony from the complainant alleging the two communicated through ICQ, an online chat room platform, once or twice a week over the course of several years.

Trowell agreed that communications could have occurred once or twice a week. But he said it occurred periodically, rather than continually.

There were only two days available for court time and the trial will resume on Jan. 29 and 30. At that time, Crown and the defence are expected to make their closing arguments.

The defence has also made an application under Section 11(b), which states that any person charged with an offence has the right to be tried within a reasonable time.

Trowell was originally arrested and charged about 19 months ago on June 8, 2022. His trial began on Aug 15, 2023, about five months ago.

Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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