Court drops final charge against Ontario man who fired shots to protect his home under attack by firebombers

Ian Thomson leaves the courthouse in Welland, Ont.



WELLAND, ON - An Ontario court has ruled Ian Thomson did nothing wrong when he armed himself against thugs who were firebombing his home.

The landmark decision took a judge 45 minutes to read as he acquitted the firearms instructor of all remaining charges.

In August 2010, Thomson fired his registered pistol over the heads of attackers before calling police. The cops, however, charged Thomson for improper storage of a firearm because he set the gun down on a table as he waited for the authorities to arrive.

"I'm somewhat relieved, but it still hasn't sunk in," the Port Colbourne, Ont., man said late Thursday afternoon.

He had originally faced a count of careless use of a firearm and one count of pointing a firearm, but those charges were dismissed early on.

He was acquitted of the remaining improper storage charge after Justice Tory Colvin ruled Thomson kept his guns safely stored in a steel locker and that the ammunition, which was stored in his bedroom, was not readily accessible to the guns.

MORE: Protecting your home, family a risky move in Canada?

The ruling is being hailed as a victory for those who defend their homes and families with force.

In an interview Friday, Thomson said he had no option but to protect himself when the men, who were sentenced to prison in early December, threw a number of Molotov cocktails at his home.

"I wasn't surprised ... I knew as soon as I used a firearm to protect my life that charges would be laid," he said. "The Crown seemed to have an agenda to make an example of me and to put the gear into every firearms owner in Canada that you're not allowed to defend your life in circumstances like I faced."

Though he was acquitted, the Crown could appeal the decision.

If an appeal is granted, Thomson said he would not stop fighting.

"I did not break the law. I did nothing wrong," he said.
His lawyer, Ed Burlew, said his client is looking forward to getting on with a normal life in his home and is glad the ordeal is over.

"He was determined ... he knew he was innocent and was steadfast in maintaining that. We were confident this (the acquittal) would occur. The law was clear."

As for Thomson's guns, seized by police when he was charged, Burlew said if there is no appeal then the weapons and other items taken will be returned.

- With files from Brian Lilley

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