Well, it seems that Peterborough is back in the news. This time it is about a criminal charge laid against an International student working part time at a Circle K in downtown Peterborough.
Tejeshwar Kalia was working the night shift when an intruder tried to rob the store with a baseball bat. He managed to get the bat away from the robber who had hit him at least once with it, and chase him out of the store. Then he commenced to get upside the perpetrator’s head with the bat which landed the perpetrator in hospital in Toronto and the clerk in jail in Peterborough.
As Joe Warmington puts it in his article of 10 January, 2024 in the Toronto Sun;
‘Ultimately a court will have to decide if this was a home run or a foul ball’! The charge?, aggravated assault. May even be upgraded to assault causing bodily harm or whatever else comes to mind for the Crown Attorney.
Mr. Warmington seems to go on a bit of a rant against both the law and the police for Mr. Kalia’s situation complaining; “Many feel this is a situation where if you play with the bull, you can end up getting the horns. But the cops hate vigilante justice and when someone allegedly leaves the scene of an attack and chases them to inflict retaliation, they often are charged”.
Port Langley in British Columbia has been the victim of a rash of criminal break-ins. In his commentary on this situation, Mr. Lorne Gunter describes what the citizens of this community did to try to stop this behaviour. They created teams and went out on Christmas Eve and found a guy who had broken into a business and arrested him then turned him over to the authorities. Fine. Until the politicians got into it. This is vigilante-ism, they claimed. It can’t be condoned. Welcome to “woke” B.C.
A vigilante is described as a member of a group of volunteers who decide on their own to stop crime and punish Criminals. This happens when police fail to take action or are unavailable to take action. This has been the subject of countless western movies. In his comments above, Mr. Warmington says that the police hate vigilante justice and so the charges against Mr. Kalia. Sounds like a movie plot already.
Mr. Warmington goes on to blame the policies of the current Liberal Government for its lenient view of crime in such circumstances, wrongly blaming the victim instead of the perpetrator. But, in this case, Mr. Trudeau is not out of line.
However, Canadian law does not work in that way. Section 37 (1) of the Code states;
“Everyone is justified in using force to defend himself or anyone under his protection from assault, if he uses no more force than is necessary to prevent the assault or the repetition of it”.
This use of force doctrine is why Canada, as compared to the United States of America (you know, cowboy country), has no such thing as the Castle Defence.
In the case of Mr. Kalia it was game on until the perpetrator left the store. At that point he should have broken off any chase and called police as it was no longer necessary to defend himself or the store and/or any patrons. Any action beyond that is improper use of force under the Criminal Code and the Courts shall be the arbitrator of his actions.
The Peterborough Police Service was right in charging Mr. Kalia. They did their job as it should have been done and should not be criticized. They had little choice. The Courts will determine Mr. Kalia’s fate along with the person who tried to rob the store. We may not like the outcome, but, welcome to the Canadian Justice System.