Protecting your home, family a risky move in Canada?

Ian Thomson, of Port Colborne makes his way out of the Welland courthouse



Protecting home and family with force is a risky move in Canada, the good guys are just as likely to be charged as the thugs.

Ian Thomson was finally acquitted this week, after the judge ruled the former firearms instructor had no choice but to defend himself when attackers firebombed his rural Ontario home. Thomson has spent thousands defending himself.

"I frankly don't know how I am going to come up with the rest of the money," Thomson told Sun News Network's Brian Lilley on Byline.

Canada's justice system has a knack for punishing people for defending themselves and their property, often called "castle law."

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

Joseph and Marilyn Singleton of Taber, Alberta spent $30,000 in court. When the couple returned home in May 2010, thieves that had ransacked their house tried to drive through their garage door. Joe hit one of the thugs with an axe handle to keep him from running over Marilyn. The homeowner was charged with assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.

Lawrence Manzer from Burton, New Brunswick was dragged through court after he was charged with possessing a weapon for a purpose dangerous to public peace. The former Canadian Forces soldier had carried an unloaded shot gun onto his neighbour's yard to help protect his property from vandals. The case was eventually thrown out on a technicality.

And Toronto police famously charged shopkeeper David Chen and restaurant owner Naveen Polapady after they defended their properties from thieves.

Chen was found not guilty and was the catalyst for the federal government to change Citizen Arrest laws. The Prime Minister is also awarding him the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

The feds say they are trying to keep Canadians who defend themselves out of courts.

"This is why we introduced and passed the Citizen's Arrest and Self-Defence Act," Sean Phelan, spokesman for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement to QMI. "This legislation provides clear direction on the use of citizen's arrest, self-defence and the defence of property. The fact is Canadians who have been the victim of a crime should not be re-victimized by the criminal justice system."

The law allows Canadians to use "reasonable" force to make a citizen's arrest or defend themselves - but charges can still be laid and it's up to judges to decide what "reasonable" means.



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