PhillipBlunt Posted October 9, 2019 Share Posted October 9, 2019 (edited) Alberta man sued by trespasser who was hit with a ricocheted bullet files counterclaim Tyler Dawson 17 hrs ago EDMONTON — Edouard Maurice, the Okotoks man being sued by a trespasser who was hit with a ricocheted bullet that was fired to scare off burglars, has filed court documents denying his responsibility for the man’s injuries. In turn, Maurice has filed a counterclaim, saying the mental anguish and trauma of the incident has harmed his family. The document, filed in a Calgary court on Tuesday, comes roughly a month after Ryan Watson filed a lawsuit against Maurice, claiming post-traumatic stress disorder and lingering pain from the .22-calibre bullet that hit him in the arm. “Mr. Maurice suffered from mental distress, anxiety, nightmares and a fear of repetition,” says the counterclaim. “Given that he lives in a rural community, he continues to worry for the safety of his wife and two infant daughters.” The court documents say his family has suffered from anxiety and fear; and that his wife, Jessica, suffered a miscarriage following the events of that night. In addition, the court documents Maurice filed, suing Watson for $150,000, says that they lost four months of “potential profits” from a planned expansion of a dog daycare that Jessica Maurice operates in Okotoks and Edouard Maurice says he missed work as a machinist because of the mental anguish and needing to attend court. The Maurices declined to speak further about the suit on Tuesday. The lawsuit against Maurice, filed and first reported by the National Post last month, spurred a huge outpouring of support for the family. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney donated money to the legal fund, saying it was “a sign of personal compassion,” and that fundraiser has surpassed $50,000. The lawsuit dates back to the early hours of Maurice’s birthday in February 2018, when he was at home just outside of Okotoks, Alta., alone with one of his children. Maurice heard dogs barking and noise from the yard. He looked outside and saw people rummaging through his vehicles. “Mr. Maurice was worried that they would enter his home and harm his baby daughter,” says the statement of defence. He retrieved his rifle, which previous court documents identified as a .22-calibre, and went outside, demanding the people leave his property. When they did not, he fired a warning shot into the ground in front of the vehicles, the court documents say. The trespassers, who were inside the vehicles at the time, did not leave, according to the statement of defence. He fired a second warning shot — this time in between the two separate vehicles the two burglars were in — the court documents say. It was at that point the two fled. In his $100,000 suit against Maurice, Watson alleges this warning shot was negligent, with no lookout, no “reasonable consideration” for Watson being in the yard. The suit also alleges there was no “reasonable threat” of imminent harm when Maurice fired the rifle and that he failed to exercise other options before firing the gun, among other allegations. The Post reached out for comment to Nelson & Nelson, the Calgary firm representing Watson, but did not hear back by press time. Maurice’s statement of defence disputes Watson’s claims, saying he should have known he wasn’t allowed to rifle through two vehicles; that Maurice owed no duty of care to Watson; but that if he did, he responded reasonably to an “imminent threat”; that the verbal warning fulfilled any duty of care; the warning shots were a “reasonable distance” from the trespassers and were fired into the ground; among other arguments. The defence asks that the case be dismissed. Watson’s court filings say he required surgery to put a metal plate in his arm and that he now suffers from PTSD and other discomfort. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail in February 2019, for his actions that evening, but walked free because of the time he had already served. Maurice was later arrested; police, whom Maurice had called to his house, arrived with guns drawn and slapped him in cuffs, taking him off to the station. He was later arrested and charged with careless use of a firearm, pointing a firearm and aggravated assault, though those charges were withdrawn by the Crown in June 2018, as they said they wouldn’t be able to secure a conviction. The case caused outrage in rural Alberta, where steadily rising crime in sparsely populated areas, and the belief the RCMP is unable to keep residents safe from criminals, has led to anger that, should someone use a weapon to defend their property or family, they’re at risk of criminal charges or a civil suit. While Edouard and his wife Jessica always knew that they could face a civil suit, they were still stunned when notice of it arrived in late September. “It’s been exhausting from the start; the exhaustion didn’t really end when the charges against Eddie were withdrawn, as laid out in the countersuit,” Jessica Maurice told the Post Tuesday evening. “But it’s a fight worth fighting, and we aren’t going to back down.” None of the allegations in either court filing have been tested in court. Personally, I think it's appalling that people can sue homeowners for defending themselves. There is a huge amount of whitespace underneath here for some reason and I can't delete it, so please forgive the massive empty gap below this sentence. Edited October 9, 2019 by PhillipBlunt 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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