Victim named in McAdam vigilante case says alleged attack was traumatizing, unjustified

·5 min read
Blake Scott of McAdam says he's been unfairly targeted by members of the community who believe he's committing crimes. (Joe McDonald - image credit)
Blake Scott of McAdam says he's been unfairly targeted by members of the community who believe he's committing crimes. (Joe McDonald - image credit)

A McAdam man says his character has been maligned and he fears for his safety after an alleged assault against him that's been framed by some in the southwestern New Brunswick village as an act of vigilante justice.

Blake Scott said he's been in trouble with the law for break and enter, but he served time in jail, and that's been behind him for three years now.

So it came as a surprise to him that he would be targeted by community members who allegedly assaulted and pointed a shotgun at him.

"I haven't broken the law and this is a few years now … and I get blamed 85 per cent of the time something goes missing, something was stolen, my name gets thrown in the mix," Scott, 36, said in an interview.

Billy McGillicuddy of St. Croix, about 10 kilometres west of McAdam, is accused of possessing a weapon, a baseball bat, for the purpose of committing an offence, and assaulting Blake Scott with a weapon, a baseball bat.

He's also accused of assaulting Scott with a weapon, a chair, unlawfully confining him, pointing a sawed-off shotgun at him, and possessing a sawed-off shotgun for the purpose of committing an offence.

Billy McGillicuddy/Facebook
Billy McGillicuddy/Facebook

All the charges stem from incidents that occurred in McAdam on June 4.

One of McGillicuddy's early court appearances last month drew about 50 people, including McAdam Mayor Ken Stannix, who gathered outside the Fredericton courthouse to show support for him.

Stannix at the time said villagers were fed up with property crimes by frequent offenders, adding he "wanted to support the individuals who allegedly took the law into their own hands."

Dwain Gardner, 46, of McAdam was also charged in the same case, accused of forcible confinement, pointing a firearm, assault with a weapon, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

McGillicuddy pleaded not guilty to all the charges and will remain in custody until January, when a trial date will be set.

Gardner is to enter a plea on his charges in September.

Joe McDonald/CBC
Joe McDonald/CBC

Scott's version of events

Scott said he went to a friend's house on June 4 because he'd heard there had been a dispute between the friend and McGillicuddy.

Outside the house, McGillicuddy approached him with a baseball bat and struck him in the leg with it, Scott said.

Scott said he called police to report the alleged assault when McGillicuddy left.

Later that day, according to Scott, Gardner, an associate of McGillicuddy's, invited him to his house to discuss the dispute in hopes of settling it.

Scott said that when he got there, he entered the garage, where Gardner pointed a loaded shotgun at him.

Scott said McGillicuddy showed up shortly after, and the two men wrestled him to the ground and hit him with a chair. McGillicuddy ended up with the shotgun, which he pointed at Scott while ordering him to strip naked.

Scott said he was then instructed to walk outside toward a pickup truck.

At that point, Scott said, he ran down the street to a home occupied by a family friend, and he called the RCMP.

None of these allegations have been proven in court.

Scott said he's not sure why he was attacked, but he suspects it's because of his past convictions, and because his friends include people who've been accused of similar crimes.

However, he said he doesn't think it's fair that he was targeted or that the community has lumped him in with others who might be committing property crimes.

"People can … change, you know, the way they change their life around, do better for themselves," Scott said.

"It's awful hard when everyone just keeps putting them down, down, down."

A clerk with the Fredericton provincial court confirmed to CBC News that Scott was sentenced on three separate charges of break and enter, and that he has no subsequent convictions for break and enter or theft on his record.

Scott said the only charge he's been convicted of since the break-ins was one for driving while his licence was suspended.

Lingering fear for safety

Scott said the experience has been traumatizing, and he's seeking mental health treatment because of it.

He said some people are showing hostility toward him online and in person, and he tries to stay within view of security cameras.

"So if someone runs me over or something, I know at least they'll get something for it, you know?"

I could have been burying my son. - Deborah Sutherland, mother of Blake Scott

Scott's mother, Deborah Sutherland, is also fearful her son might be the target of further attacks.

"Number one, I could have been burying my son," she said.

"Number two, he never did a damn thing wrong. All he was trying to do was help."

Sutherland said Scott has lived with her since he finished his jail time for the break-ins.

Since then, she said, he's stayed out of trouble and started turning his life around.

"I think that some people sometimes are too quick to judge others … when they have no idea.

"Blake's kindhearted, he wears his heart on his sleeve, he'd do anything to help anybody and the ones that do care about Blake, it's because they know him, they know he's not a trouble-maker, they know he's trying to get help and turn his life around."

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