Alberta man who fired warning shots at bandits is now being sued for damages by one of them
|National Post 23 Sep 2019 at 19:34|
EDMONTON — Edouard Maurice, the Alberta father who was hauled before a judge for firing warning shots at bandits on his property, is now being sued by the man who, that night on his land outside of Okotoks, was hit by a ricocheting bullet and hospitalized.
In court documents filed in Calgary on Sept. 6, Ryan Watson says injuries sustained to his right forearm in February 2018 caused “severe damages and disability” and is suing for $100,000.
Watson was one of two people who had “entered (Maurice’s) farmland,” as the lawsuit put it.
“As … Watson was fleeing, without warning, (Maurice) attempted to scare (Watson) by shooting a 22-calibre rifle in his direction, but negligently hit the plaintiff in the right forearm,” the statement of claim says.
It s like being victimized a third time
The civil suit was served to Edouard Maurice earlier this month. Edouard, reached Monday morning, said he was “shocked” when he got it.
“It’s going to be hard to go into another court case,” said his wife, Jessica. “Now it’s like being victimized a third time.”
The Maurice case caused outrage across Alberta.
Edouard Maurice then called police; he says they arrived some hours later (a timeline the RCMP has refused to comment on) with their guns drawn, saying there were reports that someone had sustained a gunshot wound. Edouard Maurice was arrested and charged with careless use of a firearm, pointing a firearm and aggravated assault.
That a man defending his home and child against robbers would be the one police led away in cuffs rubbed already raw nerves in rural Alberta, where people are on edge over what has felt like out-of-control crime. Doug Schweitzer, the United Conservative minister of justice, is on a tour of the province getting feedback from Albertans on rural crime.
While the charges were withdrawn against Maurice, in June 2018, the damage was done.
What he told the Post in an exclusive interview last year was a decision made in a “split second of fear” upended their lives, and made the Maurices symbols for rural residents across the Prairies; at court appearances, frustrated residents rallied around Maurice as symbols of all that was wrong with the justice system.
“Mr. Watson has already received some lumps, he was shot as he was leaving the scene,” said Crown prosecutor Jillian Pawlow at the time.
In the civil suit, Watson’s lawyer argues Maurice was negligent, having fired a gun without a lookout; without “reasonable consideration” for Watson being nearby; that there was no “reasonable threat” of imminent harm when he fired the rifle; and failing to exercise other options before firing the gun, among other allegations.