Defending self-defence

January 24, 2015 11:29 pm

January 24th, 2015 – Lorne Gunter, Edmonton Sun,

Self-defence is legal in Canada. So how come police and Crown prosecutors keep charging victims who have the courage to fight back against their attackers?

Two weeks ago I wrote about Michael Woodard, a 68-year-old from Honeydale, N.B.

On Dec. 19, Woodard found three burglars in his remote home, a 20-minute drive down a gravel road from the nearest blacktop.

The cops are nearly an hour away.

When one of the burglars clocked Woodard in the head with a tire iron, he managed to get to one of his legally owned long guns. He shot the skull-cracker in the leg, then followed the perps outside and fired a shot at their car as they sped off.

When police arrived, they arrested Woodard. He spent the weekend in jail until he could arrange bail. Now he faces more serious charges and longer jail time than the three little miscreants who invaded his home.

Another example of police and prosecutors’ war on self-defence came this weekend in Rouyn-Noranda, a mining community in northern Quebec near the Ontario border.

Tuesday evening, two robbers entered Leo Boulet’s tiny depanneur (convenience store) in the remote Quebec community. The store is tiny, only a couple of hundred square feet, with a residence in the back, but it has been the scene of frequent robberies.

Boulet, who is 75, took out a gun from behind the counter and shot at his assailants, seriously wounding one.

Once again, when police arrived, they arrested Boulet, and charged him with more serious crimes than his attackers, including discharging a firearm with intent, reckless use of a firearm and aggravated assault.

Boulet is still in a provincial jail about three hours from his home because the Crown opposed his bail application.

Boulet’s is a bit of a tricky case.

The gun he used was a handgun he kept loaded under the counter – a handgun that was unregistered and for which, according to police, Boulet had no licence.

And this is not the first time Boulet has shot someone who was trying to hold him up. He shot another robber in 1990. No charges were laid.

Sure it’s wrong of Boulet to have an unregistered handgun and to have no possession licence. Our gun laws are overly restrictive. These probably shouldn’t be crimes. Still, if the Crown proceeds with illegal possession charges against Boulet, he will have to face a judge on those counts.

But the rest of the charges against Boulet are rubbish.

Discharging a firearm with intent? Yeah. His intent was not to get killed or beaten badly by the two criminals holding him up.

Reckless use of a firearm? How was his use reckless? He hit the robber he was aiming at.

And aggravated assault? If the robber didn’t want to wind up in hospital with a bullet wound he shouldn’t have entered the Chez Lou depanneur with the intent to commit a robbery.

What’s next from our politically correct criminal justice system? Declaring armed robbery a profession and demanding workers’ comp for thieves who get “injured” at “work?”

An online petition supporting Boulet and demanding that charges be dropped had more than 2,000 signatures, and a march in support of the septuagenarian shopkeeper was planned for Saturday. But both had to be dropped when organizers were threatened with violence on their Facebook page.

Gee, isn’t uttering threats a criminal offence in Canada? Wouldn’t Quebec provincial police’s time be better used running down the threat-makers?

In 2012, the federal Tories changed the Criminal Code to make self-defence easier. Too many police officers and Crown prosecutors still haven’t received the memo.