“Mr. Thomson’s is the latest in a series of high-profile cases in which people have been charged after defending their homes and businesses against criminals.
“When you’re under attack, it’s not a vigilante act. Vigilantism talks about vengeance and retribution. This is about saving your life and saving your property.’”
In my opinion, the police and the courts are completely unrealistic and illogical when it comes to the right of self defence, and I don’t doubt they always have been.
As our American friends say, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!”
And I’m sure that most people would rather be up on charges than be lying on a slab at the morgue awaiting autopsy.
This is the time to make your views known to the politicians, as we are looking at a possible election in the next few weeks.
Man faces jail after protecting home from masked attackers
Tamsin McMahon: January 20th, 2011
Ian Thomson moved to a rural homestead in Southwestern Ontario to lead a quiet life investing in a little fixer-upper. Then his neighbour’s chickens began showing up on his property. He warned his neighbour, then killed one of the birds.
The incident began six years of trouble for Mr. Thomson that culminated early one Sunday morning last August when the 53-year-old former mobile-crane operator woke up to the sound of three masked men firebombing his Port Colborne, Ont., home.
“I was horrified,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what was happening. I had no idea what was going on.”
So Mr. Thomson, a former firearms instructor, grabbed one of his Smith & Wesson revolvers from his safe, loaded it and headed outside dressed in only his underwear.
“He exited his house and fired his revolver two, maybe three times, we’re not sure. Then these firebombing culprits, they ran off,” said his lawyer, Edward Burlew.
His surveillance cameras caught the attackers lobbing at least six Molotov cocktails at his house and bombing his doghouse, singeing one of his Siberian Huskies. But when Mr. Thomson handed the video footage to Niagara Regional Police, he found himself charged with careless use of a firearm.
The local Crown attorney’s office later laid a charge of pointing a firearm, along with two counts of careless storage of a firearm. The Crown has recommended Mr. Thomson go to jail, his lawyer said.
His collection of seven guns, five pistols and two rifles was seized, along with his firearms licence. Mr. Thomson said he lives in fear that his attackers will return and has taken to arming himself with a fire extinguisher.
“I don’t have enemies,” said the soft-spoken man, who now studies environmental geosciences full-time at Brock University after being injured in a workplace accident. “I don’t know that many people. I’m a quiet man. I just want to go back to my life and be able to live out my days in relative peace.”
Mr. Thomson’s is the latest in a series of high-profile cases in which people have been charged after defending their homes and businesses against criminals. Central Alberta farmer Brian Knight became a local hero after shooting a thief who was trying to steal his ATV. He pleaded guilty to criminal negligence earlier this month. In October, Toronto shopkeeper David Chen was acquitted of forcible confinement charges after he tied up a repeat shoplifter and demanded he stop raiding his grocery store.
Their cases are renewing calls for Canada to introduce a version of the “Castle Doctrine” found in many U.S. states, which allows citizens to defend their property with force.
“I hear some people, some being police officers, some being Crown attorneys, some being ordinary people, say we don’t want vigilantism, to which I can only give an emphatic pardon me?” Mr. Burlew said. “When you’re under attack, it’s not a vigilante act. Vigilantism talks about vengeance and retribution. This is about saving your life and saving your property.
“I’m sure that will be recognized at trial, but why would a citizen, where it’s so obvious that what he was doing was protecting himself during a continued attack, be put to the expense of a trial? It’s demeaning.”
Canada allows people to claim self-defence for using force, including guns, to protect their life as long as the force is reasonable and they believe they have no other options.
“If the public are wondering can you run out of your house and [fire a handgun at an intruder], the bottom line is, according to the laws of Canada, no, you can’t,” said Constable Nilan Dave of the Niagara Regional Police Service, which charged Mr. Thomson. “That’s why the courts are there, to give a person an opportunity to explain their actions.”
Mr. Burlew, a Toronto-area lawyer whose practice mainly consists of firearms-related charges, said he is trying to hire a psychiatrist to prove that Mr. Thomson feared for his life when he grabbed his revolver. A target shooter and hunting-safety instructor, Mr. Thomson had the skill to shoot his attackers if he’d wanted to, Mr. Burlew said, but missed on purpose.
Police said no one was injured in the shooting and the attackers got into a car and sped off. They charged Randy Weaver, 48, of Port Colborne, and Justin Lee, 19, of Welland, with arson in December, alleging the men and a third suspect “intentionally set the home on fire while the homeowner was inside.”
Mr. Thomson’s neighbour, who had received a suspended sentence for uttering threats against Mr. Thomson in 2007, has not been charged in connection with the attack on his house.
Mr. Thomson said he has added extra security to his home after the firebombing and hardly sleeps anymore. The charges, he said, have destroyed him.
“This is just an absolute nightmare, this whole thing,” he said. “People need to know that this is what can happen to you and which side of the victim line do you want to stand on? Lying down dead or in court? That’s the way it seems it has to go.”
See original here.
See a list of Federal MP’s and contact information here.
See the Toronto Sun editorial “Changing the criminal citizen’s arrest law” here.
Also see “Protecting the lawful citizen” here.