The violent side of Rivercity street life

Living on the street is tough – the violence only makes it worse.

The brutal reality of street life in Campbell River was brought into the provincial courtroom on Monday during a bail hearing for Lucille Billy.

The 37-year-old, with no fixed address, is charged with assault causing bodily harm, two counts of assault, possession of marijuana and three counts of breaching a court order.

The alleged victim in the assault causing bodily harm charge is Maria Rufus who often lives on the street and is no stranger to police.

“Ms. Rufus is a long-term actor in these dramas,” defence lawyer Doug Marion told the court.

Crown prosecutor asked for Billy’s detention based on her criminal record – 44 convictions – her history of not complying with court orders and her struggles with alcohol.

According to police files, on Feb. 27, 2013, an employee of the Salvation Army Lighthouse Centre called RCMP to report an assault in progress. It is alleged that Billy repeatedly punched Rufus in the face, causing “significant injuries” and a possible broken nose.

Marion contends the two women, who know each other, were involved in a mutual altercation. Nevertheless, Billy was arrested and later released on conditions.

On the afternoon of Nov. 28, police were called to investigate an assault on another woman. The woman was walking between the Lighthouse soup kitchen and Mariner Square when Billy allegedly attacked her. A male friend of the victim’s intervened, but Billy was gone by the time police arrived.

About four hours later, around 6:30 p.m., Mounties were called to the parking lot by the Haida Inn to investigate another assault.

This time it is alleged that Billy and Rufus had another encounter. This time though, Rufus apparently ducked Billy’s punch.

However, it is alleged that Billy then assaulted another man, Robert Chickite, who is also well-known to authorities.

This time Billy was arrested and held in custody until Monday’s bail hearing. Marion told the court that Billy will be pleading not guilty and the first assault case is slated for trial on Jan. 14.

The defence lawyer also asked for Billy’s release based on a plan to have her stay at a friend’s home on Read Island. However, the man, said he was reluctant to post a cash surety on Billy’s behalf.

The judge then asked Billy, who had a blackened left eye, if she could abstain from alcohol. Billy quickly responded that she’s likely to drink during Christmas and New Year’s which didn’t impress the Judge Ron Lamperson.

“I considered releasing Ms. Billy…(but) I’m not satisfied there are any conditions the court could impose that would reasonably prevent her from committing further (offences),” he said in ordering her detention.

Billy’s next court appearance is Dec. 9.


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