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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Kidnapping or Valid Arrest?
Article 494 of Canada's Criminal Code reads this way:

494. (1) Any one may arrest without warrant

(a) a person whom he finds committing an indictable offence; or

(b) a person who, on reasonable grounds, he believes

(i) has committed a criminal offence, and

(ii) is escaping from and freshly pursued by persons who have lawful authority to arrest that person.

Marginal note:Arrest by owner, etc., of property
(2) Any one who is

(a) the owner or a person in lawful possession of property, or

(b) a person authorized by the owner or by a person in lawful possession of property,

may arrest without warrant a person whom he finds committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property.

Marginal note:Delivery to peace officer
(3) Any one other than a peace officer who arrests a person without warrant shall forthwith deliver the person to a peace officer.

Let's say that you come home to the house and property that you own, and you find that a group of kids aged 10-14 have broken into your home, and are vandalizing it, and stealing things. They scatter when you come in, but you manage to grab one of them, Let's say, it's an eleven year old boy.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, article 494.3, you are not only allowed, but I daresay - required - to deliver the "perp" up to a peace officer "forthwith" (ie. before you do anything else)

Now let's say that you have no phone in the house, and no cell by which you could call for an officer of the peace, so that in order to fulfill your legal obligation (having arrested and detained the lad), you must now deliver him to a peace officer; so you dutifully drag said child, crying and resisting, to your car, and drive with the boy to your local law enforcement agency, and deposit him there. No fuss, no buffoonery - just doing your civic duty, and doing it by the book.

Are you a kidnapper, or are you a law abiding citizen? According to the letter of the law, so long as you caught the perp committing the crime on your property, you have every right to arrest and deliver him to a peace officer - and no one would raise an eyebrow if the perp was in his twenties - but the fact that this is a child makes the whole matter one big mess.

As a father, I can tell you I am not comfortable with the law as it stands. Don't get me wrong, My heart does not bleed for young criminals, nor do I blame society or low income for criminal behavior. I blame both parents (especially in the case of a broken home!), I blame our culture, in that it entertains itself to the point of idolizing crime and violence, but above all, I blame the child. So don't get me wrong, I am all for justice - my concern is that the law, as it is written, appears to allow citizens to legally abduct children in Canada.

This is tricky stuff. I mean children do not have the same rights as adults - they cannot vote, they cannot marry without parental consent, they cannot drive until they reach a certain age, or work before a certain age. If a child breaks someone's window, guess who pays for the window? Not the child, but the child's parents. We recognize, however it might be worded, that there is something legally (and socially) significant about a parents relationship to their child; How many "permission slips" did you get your parents to sign when you went to school and wanted to go on some field trip. Your teachers weren't allowed to take you into their custody without your parents consent.

The reason we take such precautions with our children is because we recognize that they are in need of parental protection - that they are not old enough to protect themselves - both physically and legally. The question before us is which "right" has precedence? Does the right to protect our children trump the right to protect our property?

I think most of us, instinctively recognize that protecting the weak (children) trumps protecting one's property - but how will that play out in the law? Do you add a clause to qualify the third point - that if the perpetrator is a child, you are not allowed to confine that child, or take then into custody?

It will be interesting to see how this develops. As it stands, the law seems ripe for abuse, imagine the paedophile caught in the act of abduction using this law as his or her defence: I wasn't abducting the child, I was arresting the child and delivering the child to a peace officer...



posted by Daniel @ 8:02 AM  
  • At 9:25 AM, March 07, 2012, Blogger Daniel said…

    As a note, should you come across a child who is lost, you have a legal obligation to act as that child's temporary guardian who upon assuming this responsibility are required to locate and deliver the child to his or her legal guardians (usually by and through notifying the police).

    It is not unthinkable that one might propopse that the adult who arrests a child takes on a similar sort of temporary guardianship - but presently such a guardianship is not explicit, or even suggested in the wording of the law.

  • At 4:52 PM, March 12, 2012, Blogger Jennifer said…

    I'm imagining the child who may be lured into someone's home in order for that person to abuse him/her and then claim he found the child in his home (trespassing, breaking & entering, stealing, etc.). Even a child of 10-12 can be easily tricked and then intimated into anything.
    I would think that if anyone took another person into custody for a citizen's arrest, and leave the scene of the crime, that it would be hard to prosecute the criminal because of lack of evidence?
    Ripe for abuse, for certain.

  • At 8:13 AM, March 13, 2012, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jenn - I hear you. I see a lot of room for abuse with this particular bill as it is written. I see nothing wrong with citizen's making an arrest, but the notion of detaining, or removing children without parental consent? That is a frighteningly unaddressed issue in this statute as it stands...

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