Right move on citizens arrest wrong move
Posted in the Georgetown Forum
North Bay, Canada
#1 Mar 16, 2013
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Lucky Moose owner David Chen in his Chinatown shop in Toronto Monday, March 11, 2013.(DAVE THOMAS/Toronto Sun) Change text size for the storyPrint this story Report an error
Torontos Chinatown grocer David Chen should never have been charged with assault and forcible confinement for defending his grocery store and livelihood from a habitual shoplifter.
What else was Chen supposed to do, given that when he called the police to deal with shoplifters he had apprehended, they often didnt show up for hours and then let off the thieves with a warning?
Its understandable police have to prioritize calls and shoplifting may be a low priority for them, but that wasnt helping Chen.
In that context, it was absurd that when Chen and two store employees chased down a habitual shoplifter in 2009, tied him up and tossed him in a van, they were charged with assault and forcible confinement and put on trial. Talk about blaming the victims!
But at least Chens case and the acquittal of all three men on all counts sparked a long overdue rewrite of Canadas citizens arrest law, which came into effect Monday.
This is the new Citizens Arrest and Self-Defence Act, a copy of which Justice Minister Rob Nicholson presented to Chen at his Lucky Moose Food Mart.
Previously, citizens could only arrest someone if they caught him or her in the act of committing a crime.
Under the new law, people committing crimes can be apprehended within a reasonable period of time following the commission of the offence.
Even with the change in the law, however, that doesnt mean its open season on shoplifters, vandals and other criminals.
What constitutes a reasonable period of time to make an arrest following the offence will still be open to legal interpretation.
So will the issue of whether the amount of force used to capture and detain the suspect was reasonable under the circumstances.
And police still have to be called at the earliest opportunity to take the suspect into custody.
In other words, each case will be judged on its own merits, and store owners will be required to use good judgment and common sense. But at least the law now recognizes that when a store owner yells Stop, thief, theres very little chance the thief is going to stop, or volunteer to hang around until the police get there.
Thats why this is a sensible reform of the law.
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Right move on citizens arrest
North Bay, Canada
#2 Mar 16, 2013
you would be put him in Obituaries if he had a gun stupit
#3 Mar 16, 2013
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