Recent events have shown that self -defence arguments are not easy to define. The Florida George Zimmerman case will be debated for years to come -on the issues of self defence laws, gun control, and race issues.
Here in Canada, a store owner thought that the only way he could protect his property was to tie up a repeated thief. He was later acquitted of charges of Assault, and Forcible Confinement.
A restaurant owner is facing scrutiny for his actions in defending his property. As the case winds its way through court hopefully he will be acquitted if he was truly defending his property
Revisions are planned to the Criminal Code self defence provisions for 3 reasons.
1. The sections s 34-37 are very confusing for counsel, judges and juries
2. The power of citizens to arrest someone is restricted to arresting only those actually committing the crime or committing the crime in relation to the citizen’s property
3. The reality that police officers sometimes can not attend during the commission of the crime.
The Bill proposes the use of reasonable force – which would depend on factors such as: the nature of the force used, whether there were other options, and the history of the relationship between the parties.
As for property, those in “peaceable possession” of a property would be allowed to take reasonable action — including the use of force — “to prevent their property from being taken, damaged or trespassed upon”.
The use of deadly force, however, would only be permitted in the most exceptional circumstances, such as protecting someone from death or grievous bodily harm.
The link to the Bill is at the end of the post.