Edward Raflant faces charges after driving a vandalism suspect about 100 metres to the Stonewall RCMP detachment.
Credits: NICOLE DUBE/QMI AGENCY
STONEWALL, Man. -- A disabled senior says he won't harbour regret if ultimately convicted for assaulting a young trespasser in the act of delivering him to the town's RCMP station and directly into a local cop's custody.
Because it's not just out of a selfish desire to see justice that Edward Raflant claims to have acted the way he did -- but also for the greater good of his small Manitoba community.
"I'm acting on behalf of the whole town. I want this vandalism cleaned out," said a feisty Raflant, 74, in an exclusive interview with QMI Agency on Thursday. "I don't care about any charges or anything else. Let's put a stop to this vandalism, OK?"
Raflant's late mother's home has been repeatedly and heavily damaged by vandals over the last decade, but he says local law enforcement never did anything about it, despite repeated requests for help.
Now, his frustration at the situation appears to have landed him smack in the middle of a criminal law controversy over what rights regular people have in using force to protect their property.
Raflant is on trial accused of assaulting and criminally threatening an 11-year-old boy he spotted fleeing the boarded-up home with a number of other kids in June 2011.
The boy told court Raflant roughed him up, threw him in his truck, and repeatedly poked him with a walking cane while being directed toward the door of the local RCMP detachment. An RCMP officer testified Raflant pushed the crying boy inside the detachment after being seen holding him near the collar at the detachment door.
The boy, prosecutors and RCMP maintain the elderly man's actions overstepped the law.
Raflant denies he ever touched the boy and suggested in his court testimony that the alleged threat the boy claims to have heard him say was misconstrued.
Provincial court Judge Rob Finlayson has adjourned the trial to allow Crown and defence lawyers time to prepare arguments on what amount of force -- if any -- Raflant was entitled to use in making a citizen's arrest.
The unusual case has drawn national attention and is the "talk of the coffee shops" in Raflant's hometown, according to local residents.
Raflant maintains if the law had acted to address petty crime in Stonewall, vandals wouldn't feel they can act with apparent impunity.
"If the police were doing their job, none of that would ever happen," he said. "They're not policing the town. They're ignoring the vandalism in the town."
He's not just blaming his frustrations solely on the cops, though -- the senior also says town politicians and administrators are also turning a blind eye.